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UK Insights

Brexit Barometer December: Public mood worsening

Luke Taylor

Head of Social and Political Attitudes

Politics 10.12.2018 / 11:00

london gloomy

As Prime Minister May’s withdrawal agreement heads to parliamentary vote, the public is getting more concerned about the impact of Brexit.

The public mood about the effect Brexit will have on jobs, NHS care, schools and living costs is worsening, with the Kantar Public Brexit Barometer showing a six point drop since last month to -20.

42% (+3 vs Nov 2018) of the British public believe that Brexit will have negative effects with no positive effects, compared to 22% (-3 vs Nov 2018) who believe it will have positive effects with no negative effects, bringing it back in line with attitudes in September.



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According to December’s Brexit Barometer, the British public’s (sometimes contradictory) priorities for the UK’s exit agreement consist of the following:

  • Almost three quarters of the public want the UK to continue collaborating with the EU on science, research and technology initiatives (73%, -1 vs Nov 2018) and (74%, +1 vs Nov 2018) on security and policing.
  • 60% of the public want British companies to have tariff-free access to the EU markets (-4 vs Nov 2018) while 53% want European companies to have the same tariff-free access to UK markets, including services (-1 vs Nov 2018).
  • 6 in 10 Britons (61%, -1 vs Nov 2018) want the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to remain ‘soft’ without any passport control. 23% said they ‘don’t know’ (-3 vs Nov 2018).
  • 6 in 10 Britons (59%) want the UK to draw up its own rules and regulations, even if they clash with EU rules and regulations (-1 vs Nov 2018) and for there to be no further contributions to the EU budget (61%, +1 vs Nov 2018, +6 vs Oct 2018).
  • Just over half (55%) of the public want unrestricted rights for UK citizens to live in the EU (-1 vs Nov 2018). 25% answered ‘don’t know’ (nc vs Nov 2018). Meanwhile, 43% of Britons want to deny the same unrestricted right for EU citizens to live in the UK (-3 vs Nov 2018) whilst 23% said they ‘don’t know’ (-2 vs Nov 2018) about that.
  • Half of the public (53%, -2 vs Nov 2018) want the UK to be part of a customs union with the EU to ensure there are no checks on goods at UK/EU borders, including with Ireland.


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How would the people vote if a new referendum was held?

The proportion of people who say they would not vote has reached its highest level, with 23% in December (+5 vs November). Remain just retains its lead, with 36% (-3 vs November) of Britons saying they would vote to Remain if a new Referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU was held tomorrow, and 33% would vote Leave (-1 vs November).

When asked if the UK should consider rejoining the EU if the general economic situation turned out to be a lot worse after Brexit, 33% (nc vs November 2018) said no, whilst 27% (-3 vs November 2018) said yes.



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Voting intentions

The Conservative and Labour party are now neck-and-neck, with the Conservative party’s lead shrinking since October. Scores for each party among likely voters are: Conservatives 38% (-2), Labour 38% (-1), Lib Dems 9% (+1), SNP 4 % (nc), Green 5% (+2), UKIP 5% (+2), PC 1% (nc), Other 1% (-1).

Public opinion on the government’s management of the economy remains split. A third think that the UK government’s management of the UK economy is ‘poor’ (35%, nc), while one in five  (22%, -3 vs November) rate the government as doing a good job. Perceptions of how the government is managing Brexit is more clear cut, with 6 in 10 Britons (60%, +1 vs November) rating the government’s performance as poor and 23% (+1 vs November) rating their handling of the negotiations as well.

Public preparations

When asked how likely are they to take action ahead of the UK’s departure date from the EU, 1 in 4 people (23%) said they are likely to or have looked for a different job (+3 vs Nov 2018), and 1 in 3 people said they have already or will reduce spending on leisure activities or eating out (31, -2 vs Nov 2018). 

 

Source : Kantar Public

Editor's Notes

Methodological information

The survey data and further details on the methodological approach can be found here.

A total of 1,178 interviews were conducted online among adults living in Great Britain between 5th and 6th December 2018. Interviews were conducted using the Kantar TNS Research Express Online Omnibus, 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. Any use of this research must cite Kantar Public as the source.

About Kantar Public

Providing the insights for public policy. Innovative consulting and research solutions. For a better public realm. Kantar Public is a global consulting and research business, providing public policy services to government, the public sector, and corporations. Kantar Public operates across the world, with permanent, fully staffed offices in every continent, to share global best practice through local expertise. As an operating brand within Kantar and the WPP group of companies, we are one of the world’s leading social research and consulting partners to governments.

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