• The Guardian – Brexit Mega Poll

    A nation (still) divided

    A landmark ICM/Guardian poll, released today, shows a nation still starkly divided along the lines of the 2016 EU Referendum.

    ICM interviewed a representative sample of over 5,000 respondents across Great Britain. This is more than twice the number of interviews usually conducted in the regular ICM/Guardian polls, and five times the number of interviews often achieved in other polls. The increased sample size not only allows for a greater confidence in the statistical reliability of the overall results, but also allows for a more detailed analysis of different groups within the British population.

    If there was a referendum tomorrow, 45% of our poll’s respondents would vote Remain, compared to 43% who would vote leave. This result is similar to when we last asked the question in early December (8th -10th, which recorded 46% Remain versus 43% Leave), and so lends weight to the claim that the British public may have become slightly more pro-Remain since the EU referendum. But these shifts should not be exaggerated – on the results of this poll of 5,000 the result of a second EU referendum would be far from a foregone conclusion.

    The possible slight shift towards remain cannot be attributed to Leavers changing their mind. The vast majority – 9 in 10 – of those who voted either Remain or Leave in the 2016 referendum say they would vote in exactly the same way in a second referendum, and the numbers swapping sides effectively cancel each other out. Any growth in Remain support seems to be coming from those who did not vote or cannot remember how they voted in 2016, with twice as many of these people saying they would vote Remain (27%) as Leave (14%) in a future referendum.

    There are also different implications for the two main Westminster parties. When asking respondents to recall their 2016 EU referendum vote, those with a Labour MP in England and Wales were more likely to have voted Remain than Leave, whilst the opposite is true for those in a Conservative held constituency. Fast-forward to a hypothetical second referendum, and the pro-Leave lead in Conservative held seats has held remarkably steady, staying exactly the same at 7% points.  Yet the pro-Remain lead in Labour held seats has shown substantial growth over the same period. In safe Labour seats, the pro-remain lead has doubled from 4% points to 8% points, whilst in marginal Labour seats, the Remain lead has tripled from 3% to 9% points.

    Whilst any gains for Remain sentiment could be attributed to increases in Labour held seats and amongst those who didn’t vote in 2016, the overall picture emerging from this poll is clear: the British public remain entrenched in their views on Brexit. This divide holds true for perceptions of the likely impact of Brexit, as shown in the tables below. A majority (58%) of 2016 Leavers think Brexit will have a positive impact on the economy, contrasting with three quarters (75%) of Remainers who think it will have a negative impact. A majority (55%) of those who voted Leave think Brexit will make no difference to their own finances, whilst a similar proportion (53%) of Remainers think Brexit will have a negative impact on their personal finances. When asked on the impact of Brexit on the way of life in Britain in general a similar divide is apparent, with 62% of Leavers thinking Brexit will be positive but 66% of Remainers thinking Brexit will be negative.

     

    Impact of Brexit on the British economy
    Overall 2016 Remainers 2016 Leavers
    Positive impact 32% 9% 58%
    Negative impact 43% 75% 12%
    Makes no difference 13% 6% 19%
    Don’t know 13% 9% 11%

     

    Impact of Brexit on your own personal finances
    Overall 2016 Remainers 2016 Leavers
    Positive impact 13% 5% 23%
    Negative impact 30% 53% 10%
    Makes no difference 41% 27% 55%
    Don’t know 16% 15% 12%

     

    Impact of Brexit the way of life in Britain today in general
    Overall 2016 Remainers 2016 Leavers
    Positive impact 33% 9% 62%
    Negative impact 36% 66% 8%
    Makes no difference 19% 15% 22%
    Don’t know 12% 8% 30%

     

    On support for a second referendum, more agree than disagree that the British public should have the chance to take a final decision on whether or not to leave the EU in another referendum when the outcome of the negotiation is known (47% vs. 34%). Perhaps unsurprisingly this support was split along 2016 lines, with a majority of 2016 Remainers agreeing with the idea of a second referendum (70%) and a majority of Leavers disagreeing (59%). Nevertheless, there are possible signs that opposition to a second referendum amongst Leavers could be softening, as a quarter (25%) of those who voted Leave in 2016 agree that the public should have the chance to take final decision on whether or not to leave the EU in a second referendum once negotiations conclude. This figure is higher than the 14% of people who voted Remain in the 2016 referendum who disagree with the idea of holding a second referendum.

    We also included our standard vote intention figures in this poll. These show the Conservatives up one percentage point from the previous poll, now matching Labour on 41%. The Lib Dems are on 7%, UKIP on 4%, whilst the Greens and SNP on 3% each.

    ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative online sample of 5,075 adults aged 18+, between 10th – 19th January 2018. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.