Conservative and Leave voters tend to believe the UK and EU would suffer equally
The prospect of a trade war between the UK and EU is looking increasingly likely as the government suggests it may unilaterally scrap parts of the Brexit arrangements it made with the EU concerning Northern Ireland.
The arrangements had allowed Northern Ireland to remain in the EU single market for goods, but treated goods arriving in Northern Ireland from mainland Britain as though coming from a foreign country. Should Britain tear up the rules, the EU could impose tariffs on UK goods or even terminate the entire Brexit deal.
A YouGov Eurotrack survey conducted in December 2021 found that, in all seven countries surveyed, people tended to think that the UK would come off worse in a UK-EU trade war. This includes 49% of Britons, compared to 25% who think both sides would be equally hit, and just 11% who think the EU would be most negatively impacted.
Spaniards are the most convinced that the UK would lose (58%), while Italians are the least (35% think so, although only 15% say the EU would be hit harder).
Within the UK, the vast majority of Labour and Remain voters (76% of each group) think that the UK would suffer more than a trade war with the EU.
By contrast, Conservative and Leave voters tend to think that both sides would be equally badly damaged (40% of the former and 36% of the latter). One in five (20-21%) think that the EU would be more negatively affected than the UK, while marginally more think the UK would be bruised more than the EU (25-27%).