Do the Great British public support a new referendum on the European Union?
Following remarks made by Nigel Farage earlier this week, the media has been abuzz with discussion of the prospect of a new EU referendum. Current UKIP leader Henry Bolton appeared on Friday’s Daily Politics to make clear he was against a new vote.
A recent ComRes/Mirror poll indicates that 55% of Brits would vote to support remaining in the EU if a new vote were to be held, however, a more recent YouGov/Times poll suggests that a plurality of voters do not want a vote on the final deal.
Here are seven things to take away from the YouGov poll.
1. The plurality of voters do not want a referendum on the final deal
YouGov asked respondents, “Once the Brexit negotiations are complete and the terms of Britain's exit from the EU have been agreed, do you think there should or should not be a referendum to accept or reject them?” There is no mention of whether a rejection would mean staying in the EU or a clean Brexit using WTO rules and no deals. 43% said there should not be a vote on the deal, significantly ahead of the 36% who disagreed. A further 21% said they did not know.
2. Support for a referendum has increased over time (but only just)
In October 2017, 32% supported a new referendum compared to the 46% who rejected the idea. There has been a slight shift, but it is nothing to make a big deal out of.
3. Only 63% of remainers support a new vote
21% reject the prospect of another referendum, reaffirming the existence of what YouGov has termed “re-leavers” - remainers resigned to leaving the EU following the vote in 2016. 16% of remainers said they did not know whether they supported a new referendum.
4. Labour is split
A total of 53% of Labour voters said they would support a referendum on the terms of the deal, ahead of the 29% who disagreed. Although a majority support a new vote, it might not be enough for Labour to do a major U-turn on the issue.
5. There is a clear age effect
Surveys have consistently noted the relationship between age and voting leave in the 2016 EU referendum and this poll picks up some of that. 48% of 18-24-year-olds support a new vote ahead of the 25% who disagree. For the 65+ age-group, 59% reject the prospect of a new vote.
Age is a clear dividing line in modern British politics.
6. Support for a new vote is strongest in Scotland and London
Although the sub-sample sizes are small, the data indicates that 44% of Londoners and 47% of Scots back a new vote. A plurality of voters in the Rest of the South, the Midlands/Wales and the North reject the prospect of a new vote.
7. The Conservatives are the party of leave
The new poll reinforces the idea that the Tories are Britain’s Brexit party. 67% of Tory voters said there should not be another referendum while just 18% supported a new vote.
The full results of the YouGov/Times survey, conducted 9th – 10th January can be accessed here.
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