Are the parties being clear on Brexit?

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
April 27, 2017, 12:21 PM GMT+0

People feel they have a good understanding of the Conservatives’ Brexit policies but have a considerably less clear view on Labour’s

Britain leaving the European Union is overwhelmingly seen by the British public as the most important issue facing the country as we go in to the general election. Approaching two thirds (64%) of people in the latest YouGov/Times survey named it as one of the three most important issues facing the country – seventeen points ahead of the next most important one.

This being the case, our latest research explores how clear the public thinks that the parties have been when it comes to their Brexit policies. It finds that half (50%) of people think that the Conservative party has been clear about its Brexit policy, compared to 31% who think they have not. By contrast, just 20% of people think Labour has been clear, with 58% thinking they haven’t been.

Meanwhile UKIP’s policy is seen as clear by 42% of people and unclear by 32%, while the figures for the Lib Dems are 27% and 45% respectively.

Ultimately, though, whether someone thinks a party has been clear on Brexit is highly partisan. Perceptions of clarity increase substantially among those intending to vote for that party.

Nevertheless, even here Labour seems to be struggling with clarity when it comes to Brexit. While 85% of those intending to vote Conservative, 80% Liberal Democrat and 77% UKIP think their respective parties have been clear on the issue, this figure is just 49% for those planning to vote Labour.

Of course, this could partly be an intentional strategy. Previously Anthony Wells showed how difficult it would be for Labour to adopt a position on Brexit that would not alienate many Labour voters. But with Brexit the dominant issue of the election, Labour has very much found itself between a rock and a hard place and the party is likely to take fire from their opponents on their lack of clarity.

Photo: PA

See the full results here