Expectation of second referendum dwindles as Brexit Day approaches

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
February 07, 2019, 12:00 AM GMT+0

The number of Brits who think being called back to the ballot box was the most likely next step in the course of Brexit has almost halved since mid-January

With just seven weeks until Brexit Day, and despite the efforts of myriad Remain campaigners, YouGov finds that expectations of a second EU referendum are rapidly disappearing.

YouGov first asked Britons which Brexit outcome they thought was most likely back in early December, and the results were a three-way split: 28% foresaw No Deal, 26% said a second referendum was on the way and 25% thought some form of deal would be forthcoming.

Fast forward to the beginning of February and hopes of a second referendum have been dashed. Now just 12% of Britons see a return to the ballot box as the most probable outcome.

Those expecting a second referendum seem to have shifted to anticipating some form of deal to be passed, with the decline in the former being closely matched by an increase in the latter. Now one in three Britons (35%) say they expect MPs to vote to accept some form of Brexit deal, either the deal already on the table (17%) or a new, better deal (18%).

A further third of the population (33%) think that Britain leaving without a deal at all is the most likely option. The remaining 20% of Britons answered “don’t know”.

Remainers have lost hope

Remain voters were always more likely to think a second referendum was the most probable outcome, and it’s among this group that the expectation has fallen furthest.

In early December 41% of Remain voters thought another vote was the likeliest option, and even in mid-January it was still their most commonly expected outcome, at 30%. Now that figure has almost halved, with just 16% now thinking a return to the ballot box is the most likely outcome. Remain voters now tend to think that some form of deal (39%) has the highest chance of occurring.

Leave voters meanwhile are relatively split between those who most expect a deal (37%) and those who think it most likely we will exit Europe without one (40%).

Photo: Getty

See the full results here

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