What do voters make of Brexit now?

Almost three years ago the UK voted in favour of leaving the EU.

Yet the original departure date of 29 March has been delayed and the government is searching for a way forward.

So, what do the majority of the UK’s voters now think about Brexit?

How well have talks been handled?

Theresa May argues that her deal is the best way of fulfilling the instruction to leave given by voters in the EU referendum.

Trouble is, voters themselves – including not least those who voted Leave – have become deeply critical of how the UK government has handled Brexit negotiations; as data from research organisations NatCen Social Research and What UK Thinks suggests.

Two years ago, those who voted Leave were inclined to give the government the benefit of the doubt.

However, as many as 80% of Leave voters now say that it has handled Brexit negotiations badly. That figure is almost as high as it is among Remain voters (85%), who had previously been more critical of the government’s approach.

Remarkably, Leave voters are now just as critical of the UK government’s role as they are of the EU’s: 79% of Leave supporters say the EU has handled Brexit badly.

Will the UK get a good deal?

Meanwhile, the longer negotiations have continued, the more pessimistic voters have become about how good a deal the UK will secure.

Two years ago, there were almost as many who thought that the UK would obtain a good deal (33%) as thought it would find itself with a bad one (37%).

However, that mood soon changed and by last summer as many as 57% reckoned the UK would emerge with a bad deal.

Now that the first phase of the Brexit negotiations has been concluded – though, as yet at least, not approved by MPs – the proportion who think the UK is heading for a bad deal is, at 63%, even higher.

Chart showing opinion on whether the UK will get a good deal or a bad deal

Here too, Remain and Leave voters are now largely in agreement. This is despite Leave voters initially being much more positive.

As many as 66% of Leave supporters now believe that the UK is faced with a bad deal – even more than the 64% of Remain voters who express that view.

It seems that the prime minister’s deal has failed to satisfy many of the very voters whose wishes the deal is intended to fulfil.

Do UK voters still want to leave the EU?

But does this negative reaction to the deal mean voters have changed their minds about leaving the EU in the first place?

In truth, the polls have for some time been indicating that slightly more people now say they would vote Remain than Leave in another ballot.

Chart showing support for Remain or Leave

At present, the average level of support for the two options (after Don’t Knows are excluded) is Remain 54%, Leave 46%.

In part, this is because Leave voters are a little less likely to say they would vote the same way again (82%), than Remain voters are (86%).

But the swing to Remain, such as it is, is also down to those who did not vote in 2016. Of this group, 43% say they would vote Remain, whereas 19% say they would back Leave.

In truth, the polls are too close for opponents of Brexit to assume that a second ballot would produce a different result.

But, equally, supporters of Brexit cannot say with confidence that the balance of opinion remains as it was in June 2016.

Do people support another referendum?

So, do the UK’s voters want another referendum?

That depends on how they are asked.

Some polls introduce the idea of another ballot as a “people’s vote”, or a “public vote” and do not make it clear that remaining in the EU would be an option.

When put to the public in this way, the polls suggest on average that supporters of a second referendum outnumber opponents by 12 points.

Chart showing support for a 'people's' or 'public' vote

However, the average level of support and opposition changes when people are asked if there should be another referendum with Remain as an option on the ballot paper.

Asked in this way, opponents outnumber supporters by 11 points.

Chart showing support for having another referendum on Leave v Remain

But perhaps what is more important is that Remain voters are much keener on this idea than Leave supporters.

That suggests the proposal is not yet a way out of the Brexit impasse that is backed by both sides in the Brexit debate.

Remain and Leave voters may agree that they do not like Mrs May’s deal, but that does not mean that they agree on what should happen instead.

About this piece

This analysis piece was commissioned by the BBC from an expert working for an outside organisation.

This analysis piece was

Sir John Curtice is professor of politics at Strathclyde University, senior fellow at NatCen Social Research and The UK in a Changing Europe. He is also chief commentator at What UKthinks.org.

One thought on “What do voters make of Brexit now?

  1. Hey, how’s it going?
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    In December of 2017, Donald Trump made history by recognizing Jerusalem as the captial of Israel. Why is this big news? Because by this the Jewish people of Israel are now able to press forward in bringing about the Third Temple prophesied in the Bible.
    The Jewish people deny Jesus as their Messiah and have stated that their Messiah has been identified and is waiting to be revealed. They say this man will rule the world under a one world religion called “spiritualism”.
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    The Bible says this false Messiah who seats himself in the Third Temple will be thee antichrist that will bring about the Great Tribulation, though the Jewish people believe he will bring about world peace. It will be a false peace for a period of time. You can watch interviews of Jewish Rabbi’s in Israel speaking of these things. They have their plans set in place. It is only years away!
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    He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
    Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.
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    Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” (Revelation 14:9-11).
    People have been saying the end is coming for many years, but we need two key things. One, the Third Temple, and two, the technology for a cashless society to fulfill the prophecy of the Mark of the Beast.


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