The public are as divided as ever
With Labour’s position on a second referendum shifting and key votes in the House of Common due within a fortnight, YouGov’s latest data shows where the public currently stands on Brexit.
Opinion on how acceptable the various Brexit outcomes would be has stayed static since the beginning of the year.
Agreeing a Norway-style deal with the EU that would see the UK remain in the single market and customs union remains the public’s most palatable option. A quarter of Britons (26%) see this as a good outcome, while a further 23% see it as an acceptable compromise.
Remaining in the EU is seen as a good outcome (39%) by more people, but only a slither see it as an acceptable compromise (7%).
Meanwhile, a no-deal Brexit appeals to 19% of Britons and is acceptable to a further 13%, while May’s proposed deal is seen as good by only 13% but is acceptable to 24%.
Bregrets: we have a few
Almost half (48%) of Britons think the country was wrong to vote Leave, while 40% think the country made the right choice.
As ever, the vast majority of people still back their referendum choice: 89% of Remain voters think the Brexit outcome was the wrong decision, while 83% of Leave voters think it was right.
Few think the government has negotiated well
The proportion of people who think that the government is doing a bad job of negotiating Brexit is 78% - the second highest level we’ve recorded. On this fact, Remain and Leave voters are united: 85% of those who voted to stay in 2016 and 76% of those who backed Brexit think the government has done poorly.
Britons think the EU has the upper hand in Brexit negotiations
With Theresa May back in Brussels trying to improve her deal, the large majority of Britons think that she’s fighting an uphill struggle. Almost three quarters (72%) think that the EU has the upper hand in Brexit negotiations, compared to only 8% who do not.
Britons are split on Labour’s decision to back a second referendum, but the party’s voters are in favour
Labour now says that it would want any deal that passes the Commons to be subject to a second referendum, which 42% of Britons think is right, and 37% wrong.
Among the party’s own voters, however, a majority (58%) are in favour – as are 64% of Remain voters in general.
Unsurprisingly, Leave voters are opposed, with 75% thinking Labour are wrong to take this course of action. A similar proportion of Conservative voters (73%) agree.
People are also split on extending Article 50
Should MPs vote down May’s Brexit deal once again on 12 March, and then reject leaving without any deal the following day, then on 14 March they will be offered the chance to back a “short, limited extension” to Article 50.
Among the public, 43% would back the extension of Article 50 while 38% would oppose. Once again, Remain and Leave voters take opposing views: Remain voters back the extension by 71% to 15%, while Leave voters reject it by 66% to 18%.
Britons would prefer a deal or a second referendum to No Deal, but are torn when asked to choose between taking the deal or a return to the ballot box
In a series of head to head questions we asked Britons whether their preferred Brexit choice would be to accept the draft Brexit deal, leave the EU without a deal or have a new referendum.
Taking the deal clearly beats leaving without any deal by 60% to 40%, while having another referendum leads the no deal option by a more modest 54% to 46%.
However, when asked to choose between accepting Theresa May’s draft deal and having another referendum, the public remain split down the middle. 51% would seek a new referendum in this scenario, while 49% would take the Brexit deal.
Expectations of a second referendum have risen once again
With Labour now saying they would back a second referendum, we’ve seen the proportion of people expecting this to be the most likely Brexit outcome rise from 12% at the beginning of the month to 19% now. Over the same time period belief that a no deal Brexit is the most likely outcome has declined from 33% to 24%, and the expectation that a Brexit deal will be accepted – either in its current or an improved form – stands at 31%, down from 36%. Uncertainty has also risen, with the number of don’t knows shifting from 20% to 26%.
People think Remain would win a second referendum
Half the public (51%) think Remain would be more likely to win a second in/out referendum, while only 23% say the same for Leave. A further 12% think both sides stand an equal chance of winning, while the final 14% don’t know.
Those who voted to stay in the EU in 2016 overwhelmingly back that outcome winning if a new vote was cast, with 72% thinking Remain’s odds are better and only 9% believing this of Leave. Leave voters likewise tend to back their own side’s chances but to a much lesser extent at 42% vs 30%.