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UK Insights

Brexit Barometer: Labour fails to capitalise as Conservatives fail to please

Luke Taylor

Head of Social and Political Attitudes

Politics 13.09.2018 / 09:00

europe

The latest research from Kantar Public shows that nearly two thirds of the UK believe the government is handling Brexit negotations poorly.

The Conservative lead over Labour extended to 5 percentage points in September’s voting intentions poll, despite widespread concerns about the governing party’s handling of Brexit negotiations. Almost two thirds (64% - up 9 percentage points from Nov 2017) of the general population now say the government is handling the Brexit negotiations poorly.

  • Remain and Leave voters agree on one thing. 70% of Remain voters think that the government is handling negotiations poorly as do 63% of Leave voters.
  • 55% of Conservative voters think the government is handling negotiations poorly, compared to 35% who think they are handling them well. In November 2017, 46% of Conservative voters thought the government were handling things poorly vs 42% well.

Overall, the Kantar Public Brexit Barometer stands at minus 20, consistent in its low ‘minus 20’s range since November 2017. 43% of the British public believe Brexit will have mainly negative impacts on the UK compared to almost one quarter who think it will have positive effects, and no negative effects. 



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Source: Kantar Public, Sept 2018 UK Brexit Barometer Base: Adults in GB aged 18+ (n=1,119)

Perception of the Government’s negotiation skill is unlikely to improve in the final weeks of the exit negotiating period. Neither the official ‘Chequers’ position or the Conservative ‘opposition’ European Research Group position are aligned with the public’s (sometimes contradictory) desires, which consistently prioritise retaining as many EU membership features as possible.   

  • A customs union with the EU covering goods and services is an increasing preference for the British population. This is now at 54%, vs 51% in June 2018. The desire to exclude a customs union from negotiations has fallen to less than one in four (24%) for the first time.
  • Tariff-free access to EU (goods and services) markets is a priority for almost two-thirds (64%) of the British public, while a smaller majority (54%) believe EU companies should have tariff-free access to UK markets.
  • 58% think it important that UK citizens have unrestricted rights to live in the EU (46% believe we should not extend this same right to EU citizens in the UK.)
  • Continued collaboration on major initiatives like R&D and policing are an overwhelming priority for more than three quarters (76%) of Britons. This is unlikely to be achieved as 60% believe the UK should make no further contribution to the EU budget (which funds these collaborations).


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Source: Kantar Public, Sept 2018 UK Brexit Barometer Base: Adults in GB aged 18+ (n=1,119)

The preference for EU benefits is further reflected in voting intentions if a new referendum were held today. 42% of the general population say they would vote Remain (+2% pts vs August) and 35% Leave (no change vs August). However, this does not account for likely turnout patterns. Support for Remain is strong among younger people and previous non-voters – groups that traditionally do not vote at high rates in elections.

Beyond Brexit, perceptions of the economy remain split between those that voted Remain and those that voted Leave. 54% of Remain voters think the economy will be doing worse in a year’s time, compared to 19% of Leave voters. 29% of Leave voters think the economy will be doing better in a year’s time, while only 9% of those who voted Remain think the same. 40% of the general population think the government’s handling of the economy has been poor, unchanged from August and highest since June 2013 (44%). 23% of the general population think the government’s handling of the economy has been good.

General Election voting intentions show the Conservatives on 40% (no change) and Labour on 35% (-4%pts). All other parties remain largely unchanged compared to the position in Mid-August. The Liberal Democratic party have crept in to double-digits, increasing 1 percentage point to 10%. 

Source : Kantar Public

Editor's Notes

Methodological information

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

1,119 interviews were conducted online among adults living in Great Britain between 6th and 10th September 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.

For more information please visit www.kantarpublic.com or @KantarPublic

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The latest research from Kantar Public shows that nearly two thirds of the UK believe the government is handling Brexit negotations poorly.

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