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UK Insights

Vast majority of Brits don’t want ‘No deal’ in Brexit negotiations

Luke Taylor

Head of Social and Political Attitudes

Politics 24.11.2017 / 13:00


A Kantar Public view on Brexit

While the UK Government is using the threat of No Deal as a bargaining chip in EU negotiations, new polling by Kantar Public suggests that this outcome would be unpopular among the general public.

Kantar Public asked those polled to consider four scenarios, ranging from an EU-in-all-but name arrangement to a no-deal ‘hard Brexit’. More than half of British adults (55%) explicitly want a deal in the Brexit negotiations, whereas only one in ten (11%) would explicitly prefer a No Deal outcome. The remainder largely are not sure what they want.

Only one-in-five Leave voters (20%) explicitly favour leaving the European Union without a deal. The most preferred option of Leave voters (26%) is for the UK to be out of the Single Market with a limited trade deal with the EU and no favourable access to the UK for EU citizens. In contrast, more than four in ten Remain voters (44%) would prefer the negotiations to result in the UK staying in the Single Market, with free movement of labour as now but with some additional constraints on access to UK benefits.

OM Graphic3 

Almost two-thirds of the British public think that the UK Government’s negotiating position on Brexit is unclear (64%), with almost a third (32%) describing the Government position as ‘very unclear’.

This lack of clarity affects perceptions of how well the Government in handling the negotiations. Just 4% think the Government is handling them ‘very well’, compared to one quarter (26%) who think they are handling them ‘very poorly’. Even among Leave voters, over half (54%) think the Government is handling the negotiations very or fairly poorly.

David Davis’s admission to a House of Lords committee that the withdrawal agreement is likely to favour the European Union appears to chime with the general public’s view. Four in ten (41%) currently think the EU will end up with the best end of the deal, compared to just 23% who think the UK will end up ahead.

“While some have suggested the public have had enough of experts, there appears to be agreement between experts and the British public that a ‘No deal’ outcome is ill-advised”, said Grant Fitzner, CEO at Kantar Public UK.

“There is also widespread public dismay about how the Brexit negotiations are going. Almost two-thirds of the British public say they are unclear about the UK Government’s negotiating position, and over half (55%) think the government is handling the negotiations poorly.”

Kantar Public polling released earlier this week found that 37% of British adults are finding it harder to meet their household budget than a year ago, and 35% believe that in 12 months’ time the British economy will be doing worse than it is now.

However, only in five (21%) of the public think the UK should consider re-joining the EU if the general economic situation turned out to be a lot worse after Brexit. Among Leave voters only 5% think we should consider re-joining the EU, while 16% think that maybe we should consider it and 69% say this should not be considered. In contrast, 43% of Remain voters think we should consider rejoining the EU under this scenario, 28% think that maybe it should be considered and only 16% think it should not be considered.

Source : Kantar Public

Editor's Notes

Download the survey data and further details on the methodological approach here.

2,437 interviews were conducted online among adults living in Great Britain between 14 and 20 November 2017. Interviews were conducted using the Kantar TNS Research Express, which uses the Lightspeed access panel as its sample source.

The data was weighted to match population totals for age, gender, working status, 2017 General Election voting patterns, 2016 EU referendum voting patterns, education, region, and likelihood to vote in the next General Election.

For more information or to interview any of our experts, please contact us.

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