Brexit 3 Years On: Public Opinion and Party Politics

Brexit 3 Years On: Public Opinion and Party Politics



do Korea and border kikuji so I'm going to talk about centrally public opinion and current state of party politics and how all this relates to brexit so start off by trying to bring you up-to-date with the evidence that we have both in Wales and indeed across the UK as a whole because of what the people are making of all of this and the brexit process and in what influence some of that might have on political arguments and process that develop over the next few weeks and months since the referendum in June 2016 there's been a number of features of public attitudes that have been very notable that come out very clearly from the substantial amount of evidence that has been gathered the first and probably most noticeable obviously noticeable thing has been that we have not had the process Teresa may occasionally used to optimistically suggest was going on that the country is coming together over brexit no it isn't Wales indeed the UK as a whole have continued to be deeply divided over the basic if your should we remain in European Union or should we leave and indeed that overall division where we see very little change actually in the fundamental attitude since the referendum more than three years ago reflects substantial consistency of attitudes at the individual level sometimes you can see in opinion polls over time that you know the line say in terms of support for a party or in this case support remain and leave remain pretty consistent over time without aggregate consistency desire disguises large amounts of individual level churn and so a bunch of people moving in one direction is canceled that by a bunch of other people moving in the other direction that's not what we're seeing with regards to brexit if we look at it at the individual level the overwhelming majority of people who voted leave three years ago still support leave and the overwhelming majority of people who supported remaining three years ago are still for the main and at the individual level very few people have changed their minds over people's consistency about the basic if you have principle of main versus leave is underpinned by substantial differences in attitudes between leavers and remain errs about many other aspects of the whole sort of brexit situation in particular we see when we look in detail at the evidence that those who voted for and still support the main have much much more pessimistic expectations about what the implications of brexit will be than those who voted leaf leavers are reasonably optimistic about the potential implications of brexit for their own economic circumstances but the implications are brexit for the economies of their communities for Britain as a whole for Britain's place in the world and so on and so forth remainders are deeply pessimistic overwhelmingly about all of these things and indeed if anything in the three years since the referendum those differences in terms of expectations have grown bigger and the hardening of attitudes in terms of expectations Matt brexit is symptomatic of a broader hardening of attitudes that we've seen if anything we're seeing the country not coming together over brexit but moving further apart into two even more deeply entrenched camps and one of the other features of that development in attitudes is 13 it was very clear when we looked at voting patterns in June 2016 that for instance older people were much more likely to vote leave than younger people but more highly educated people were more likely to vote for remain than those with fewer years in formal education we saw that more affluent people tended to vote remain people low down a social scale more likely to vote leave all of those differences have persisted and indeed become slightly stronger we've also seen a hardening of differences between parties most conservative supporters in June 2016 fo to leave most labour supporters voted to remain in suddenly the two and a half years up to early this year those differences became even stronger the Conservatives became even more the party of leave labour became even more the party of remain and the only thing has happened just in the last few weeks have we seen that an extraordinary decline in the support for the conservative Labour Party is but basically the principle moves there have been conservative levers moving the direction of the brexit party labor of Mainers moving the direction of the Liberal Democrats or the SNP apply company or the Greens so even in party terms we're seeing the country becoming more deeply divided give you a few illustrations of the REA latest evidence here so first of all this is a chart of opinion polls conducted in Wales where we've asked a consistently worded question since July 2016 about basic a few of the main vs. leave here basically the blue line is people who say they would vote remain in another referendum the red line is people who say they would vote leave this black line is people who say either I don't know or I would not vote and the basic picture well there's two things here as a modest a very modest shift towards remains between 2016 the such that remain has been ahead in all of the polls for about well getting on for the last two years but secondly note the modesty of that shift basically the country is still divided almost and the middle the very last opinion poll conducted about a month ago had just a four-point gap between remain and leave overall we're still very deeply divided and there's no clear gap between the two sides similarly if we look at some evidence from Britain wide surveys this isn't a slightly differently worded question I've taken this from the website of my friends are John Curtis and this is a question run in numerous studies saying in hindsight you think Britain was white won't vote to leave the EU the top line this green line is people saying it was wrong to vote to leave that he knew the blue line is people saying it was right there's people saying they don't know yeah we do see over the last couple of years putting up all of the polls showing a lead for those saying Britain was wrong to vote to leave the EU but notice how small that gap is in pretty much all of these polls so overall a very modest shift towards remain but nothing more than that and still overwhelmingly your country divided almost down the middle there is a little bit more consistency in public attitudes when we it comes to looking at the withdrawal agreements we see there that the withdrawal agreement is not very popular the one the go feed by treasom a that grateful was talking about earlier in the most recent poll in Wales we gave people three options on the withdrawal agreement who support it do you pose it or are you unsure the most aren't the the least chosen option there by a long way was support only about 15% of people indicating they supported the withdrawal agreement and this is symptomatic of we might say so the decline was the collapse in support for compromise symptomatic of the hardening of attitudes the many people moving towards either supporting a No Deal brexit or supporting the UK remaining in the EU and any sort of compromise ground riddle is winning very little support the one thing where we do see overwhelming public consensus rather than thoughtfully for Teresa Mays governments has been in terms of public evaluations of her government's handling their exits so this is in Britain wide figures taken from John Curtis site a questions like how well or badly do you think the government are doing a negotiating Britain's exit from the this green line is important people saying badly you don't have to be a statistical genius to see that that is the line it's been going up in fact it's more or less got to the point where it can't go up much further that's 90% that lying on the charts there so the one area in which trees may was right the country is coming together over brexit isn't believing that's how government is doing a really crap job of negotiating that departure so to summarize the public opinion evidence is really modest change at the most on the basic issue of remain versus leave the country is still deeply divided and if anything attitudes have hardened on the issue partly because of that hardening of attitudes there's very limited support for the dual agreements terms all polls either in Wales now or Britain white if you give people three options remain withdrawal agreements or No Deal withdrawal agreement always comes last and we've seen declining indeed and I pretty much terminal loss of faith in the UK government's handling of brexit so that's the rather unhappy picture of where public attitudes fly what about this and this is the rather unfortunate context in which the Conservative Party is electing our new leader which I'll come to you in a second but first of all one area where we do actually see some evidence of change is regards to voting intentions and in the European Parliament election that was held last month we actually saw some extraordinary results so these are the figures in terms of share of the vote in Wales for instance the brexit party formed us a few weeks ago coming first with over 30 percent of the vote second place clyde camry third place Wales long dominant political party the Labour Party the liberal than perhaps and fourth the Conservatives in a distant place only just finishing head of the greens in across the UK as a whole we saw the Rexy parcel winning the Liberal Democrats who we thought were politically dead and buried having resurgence in their support to finish second the Labour Party we had a time of a deeply unpopular governments the main party boxer from coming a distant third the Greens coming forth again across Britain as a whole the conservative coming a distant fifth these are truly extraordinary in many respects historic election results I was going to assemble a slide of all of the different ways in which the European pound election results were historic that I ran at the groom so I've had to sit here a few of the edited highlights of the ways in which these were quite extraordinary and historic election results so firstly and the brexit party party had just been formed a few weeks before winning a uk-wide election nothing like that has ever happened in UK politics before or anything close to it the Liberal Democrats coming second finishing ahead of both the Conservatives and the Labour Party again if we understand that the December 1918 general election which I don't think anyone here in this hall will remember was a special case then this is the first time the Liberal Democrats or their predecessor parties have come in the first two in the UK wide election since December 1910 this is the first time that the Labour Party which has been dominant in Welsh politics from 1922 onwards the first time that they have come third in election in Wales since December 1910 December 1910 labour didn't even stand candidates everywhere so this is truly extraordinary stuff this is the first time ever that the Greens have beaten the Conservatives in a uk-wide election again until basically May this year pretty much unimaginable anything like this could happen the first time the Conservatives are comfy in a Britain white election again nothing like this has ever happened before and finally it's worth noting we saw back in the spring the launch with some fanfare at least off change UK the independent group or whatever exactly it is they're calling themselves this week well that didn't work too well that's worth noting that the SNP standing only in Scotland managed to get more votes than change UK did standing right across Britain says something about the success a little success of the SNP but also about the abject failure of change UK but beneath all of these extraordinary numbers I think we see a reflection of the public attitude state might explain to you a few minutes ago we see a hardening of public attitudes this is the European election hadn't only two years in fact slightly less than two years after a UK general election that had apparently seen the resurgence of two-party politics will labor new surf tea parties becoming dominant once more and then this European part election the Conservatives and Labour Party put together could not get a quarter of all the votes cast and what we see or what we saw was strong supporters of the UK leaving maybe without a deal going to overwhelm we need the brexit party on one side and on the other side we saw the Labour Party's ambivalent position on the exit seeing it losing lots of support to the Liberal Democrats to the SNP in Scotland like Hungary in Wales to alter the Greens and so you know the parties sort of in some respect to another favored a compromise withdrawal agreement or taken on bishop ambiguous positional brexit were being abandoned in their droves as voters move to either end of the political spectrum and that has produced these really extraordinary historic and results and so now it's the time with the Conservatives not using on X Prime Minister having suffered their worst election defeat ever we now know who are the two final candidates I haven't checked which in the last half-hour so I'm not quite sure what Boyce Johnson might have done this morning but anyway he remains the clear front-runner in this contest he got the support of majority of Conservative MPs in the final ballots and is facing up against the foreign secretary and his predecessor say he's a successful Secretary Jeremy Hunt Boris Johnson is still clearly the overwhelming favorite but frankly whoever wins this leadership election is going to take over a conservative party that not only has all the difficulties of dealing with brexit that Joe and Rachel have described but also inherits a deeply problematic situation with regards to Parliament Parliament as Rachel talked about has rejected the withdrawal agreements three times it seems pretty clear also that Parliament will not approve a no deal that there was a majority against a no deal brexit within the House of Commons that is the extremely difficult perilous precarious parliamentary situation in which the new Prime Minister will step we have move over Wales how to get into the story somehow a parliamentary by-election whether is likely to occur about 10 days after the new prime minister takes office due to someone unfortunate events relating to the Member of Parliament for Brecon and Radnor we have a parliamentary by-election there that the Lib that the Conservative Party are likely to lose I mean the national polls at the moment are showing a swing since the 2017 general election from the Conservatives to the Liberal Democrats so there's approximately twice as big as the swing double Democrats need to win the Brecon about the by-election so the Conservatives are likely to lose that one and within their first 10 days or so of taking power the new Prime Minister will have not only a significant political blow to their party but also their Commons majority if you include the DEP reduced by one further seat we've also had in recent weeks a number of a small number of Conservative MPs indicating that if the new Prime Minister looks likely to be pushing towards a No Deal drexy it then they would support a no-confidence vote in that government the pressure form and the membership within the current leadership race is likely of anything to push both Johnson Dromi Hunt to harden their positions on brexit but that will in turn make it all the more likely I will seal their fate in the Commons and lead to a no-confidence vote in their new government being passed within probably just a few weeks of them taking office and that would then mean we're probably into a general election unless the new prime minister were to try and seize the agenda and call another referendum before that no confidence so it happens so that is the happy and harmonious situation in which you play politics company finds itself publicly Mystikal that both the public and the elites are deeply divided on this view of brexit there is my colleagues described earlier really no very clear way forward that can be deliverable by the end of october as a potential halt of this to have major political implications this has already led last month to historic election results there's the potential for this to blow some of our major long-standing political parties into oblivion or even to lead to the potential destruction of the UK and secession of Scotland and factors like that so it's all going really well

2 thoughts on “Brexit 3 Years On: Public Opinion and Party Politics

  1. No one has ever claimed the result of our Brexit vote was fixed. Therefore, Leave won. If we live in a democracy that result must stand. Sadly, our Remainer Parliament has thus far got away with defying the electorate. This has led to anger on such a vast scale that we now either have a No Deal Brexit as a starting point to serious trade negotiations, or a revolution in British politics where at the next GE the betrayed electorate reduce the Tory and Labour parties to political rubble at the ballot box.

  2. Every single election you have there are usually divisions. It's called democracy. One side wins and the losing side or sides accepts the result and moves on. What's the point in having elections if no side accepts the result, if they lose? The alternative to democracy is returning to the battlefield to settle your differences in civil war, where the side with the most guns wins.
    The 2016 EU referendum result was actually a landslide victory for Leave, with 406 (63%) constituencies voting by majority to leave and 241 (37% )voting by majority to remain. 9 out of the 12 regions of UK voted to leave.on a turnout of 72.2%. The majority of votes cast went to Leave (52%).

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