Leaving the EU: 6 key findings from new Brexit priorities poll

A recent YouGov Cambridge survey highlights the split in Brexit priorities across different groups of British voters.

1. Overall priorities

The poll, conducted between the 6th – 7th February, asked respondents what they thought the UK’s top three priorities for Brexit discussions should be. The third highest option picked was maintaining cooperation to counter-terrorism and to keep security links between the UK and EU, with 36% picking this priority. The top joint-two priorities, each picked by 38% of respondents, were the ability for the UK to make trade deals with non-EU counties and tariff-free trade with the EU.

2. Northern Ireland

In the same question, the poll found that just 14% of respondents picked preventing a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland as a top priority. This issue is likely to be key to ongoing negotiations, but for most Brits it is not a priority.

3. The leave-remain divide

When the figures are looked at in closer detail there are some serious differences between leavers and remainers.

The top two priorities chosen by remainers were tariff-free trade (55%) and security cooperation (51%). In contrast, just 26% and 25% of leavers opted for these priorities. Instead, the top two priorities of respondents who voted to leave the European Union were giving the UK the ability to make its own trade deals and controlling migration. Each option was picked by 54% of leavers.

4. Party splits

The poll also highlights divisions between Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour voters. Allowing Britain to make trade deals with non-EU countries is the top pick for Tory voters (57%) while the top priority for Labour voters is tariff-free trade (44%). Furthermore, 68% of Liberal Democrat voters put tariff-free trade as their top priority.

5. The age-split continues

The positive relationship between age and how one voted in the EU referendum has long been noted. This poll suggests continued age divides on the UK’s Brexit priorities.

On controlling immigration, there is a clear age effect, with the oldest voters most likely to pick this as a top priority. Similar figures are found for freedom from European Court rulings while young voters are most likely to prioritise UK citizen’s rights in the EU.

6. Gender

Overall, there are no major gender differences, however, the most notable one is that women are more likely to wish to maintain security cooperation post-Brexit.

The full results of the poll can be accessed here.