NEWS24 January 2019

Establishment has failed country over Brexit, poll finds 

Brexit Election 2019 News Public Sector Trends UK

UK – Across both Leave and Remain voters, the public believes the political establishment has failed the UK over Brexit and that it has distracted attention away from other major issues, according to research from BritainThinks.

Big Ben and EU flag

The latest wave of Brexit research found that 83% of the public believe that ‘the entire political establishment’ has failed the country over Brexit.

This sense of disappointment in the political class spans across all four of the groups studied in BritainThinks’ research – diehard leavers, cautious optimists (voted Leave but have some concerns), accepted pragmatists (Remain voters who can see some benefit from Brexit) and devastated pessimists.

BritainThinks conducted focus groups with the two swing segments in Slough last week, followed by a nationally representative poll of more than 2,000 people.

The research found the public’s perception of everyone across the political realm has worsened since the EU referendum in 2016 – 68% said their impressions of the UK parliament had got worse in the past two years.

Jeremy Corbyn is also viewed increasingly negatively over Brexit. Seven in 10 respondents ( 69%) agreed that he is more concerned about party politics than the national interest – a more negative appraisal of Corbyn’s role than has been recorded in previous research from BritainThinks.

Theresa May was viewed more favourably by the public – 45% agreed that she cares more for party politics – and there was a stronger pushback from those who disagreed ( 39%, compared to 16% for Corbyn).

But while May is respected, there was little enthusiasm for her leadership from participants, as Leave voters doubt her motivation and Remain voters feel disenfranchised.

Among the prevailing sense of despair from the public, 73% agreed that the focus on Brexit has ‘significantly hampered’ the government’s ability to tackle other key issues facing the country, such as housing and the cost of living. 

While May’s draft withdrawal agreement was viewed negatively on the whole, participants were unclear on its finer detail, with seven out of eight Leave voters stating they knew nothing about the deal, and most Remain voters saying they knew very little (around five out of 10 ). Overall, just over a third ( 38%) of the public said they had a good understanding of the deal negotiated.

The public agree ( 70%) that it is impossible to predict what the outcomes will be if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Yet, despite the lack of trust in political institutions, the qual identified an implicit faith in an unspecified ‘they’ – that in the event of leaving without a deal, the broader establishment will manage the consequences without the country taking a hit. 

The researchers also asked respondents to draw maps of the UK’s place in the world, with Remain voters positioning the country closer to Europe, and those who voted Leave envisioning the country as closer to the US. Both groups consistently failed to include Ireland in the drawing, representing the lack of awareness across the board, highlighted during the qual group discussions, of the Irish backstop as a key element of the negotiations with Europe.


1 Comment

6 years ago

Surprised there is any faith remaining at all, to be honest, it's a complete farce.

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