Brexit II: This Time It’s Personal…23 January 2017
For this second part of my discussion of the findings of our latest Barometer poll about Brexit, I turn to our remaining questions. These asked about the consequences of Brexit, both personal and for Wales, and trust in the UK and Welsh Governments to handle the issue.
First of all, the consequences of Brexit. We repeated a question asked in September about how Wales would fare relative to the rest of the UK. These were the pattern of responses:
|Wales will benefit more (or suffer less) than the rest of the UK when Britain leaves the EU||3%||10%||6%|
|Wales will benefit less (or suffer more) than the rest of the UK when Britain leaves the EU||63%||15%||36%|
|Wales will benefit (or suffer) about the same amount as the rest of the UK when Britain leaves the EU||18%||51%||33%|
So once again we see a substantial divide between Remain and Leave voters. Few people seem to think that Wales will do better than the rest of the UK from Brexit. But almost two-thirds of Remain voters suggest that Wales will do worse, whereas a narrow majority of Leave voters choose the ‘about the same’ option. Overall, there is little optimism that Wales will do better than the rest of the UK, but once again no consensus around any of the other options.
We also asked about the personal consequences of Brexit:
“When the UK leaves the EU do you think you personally will be better off, worse off, or will it make no difference?”
Once again, we see here stark differences between Remainers and Leavers. Remain voters strongly tend to be personally pessimistic about the financial consequences of Brexit. Interestingly, most Leave voters do not expect themselves to be better off as a result of the UK leaving the EU – a finding which perhaps emphasises that, for many Leave voters, the referendum was not primarily about economics. But even fewer of them expect to be worse off. The overall balance is clearly tipped more towards pessimism than optimism, but on this question, as on so many others, there is no public consensus and no option comes even close to being selected by a majority.
Finally, our latest Barometer poll asked about levels of trust in both the UK and Welsh Governments to handle ‘the issue of Britain leaving the EU’:
|Trust a lot||3%||10%||6%|
|Trust a little||18%||31%||23%|
|Do not trust very much||30%||29%||29%|
|Do not trust at all||43%||23%||34%|
|Trust a lot||4%||3%||3%|
|Trust a little||34%||18%||25%|
|Do not trust very much||33%||36%||33%|
|Do not trust at all||16%||34%||25%|
Here, we see rather poor levels of trust overall in both governments to deliver on Brexit. We also see on this question more modest differences between Remain and Leave voters than on just about all our other questions. And those differences that do exist appear to be primarily a function of party loyalties: Conservative voters, many of whom also voted Leave, unsurprisingly have greater levels of trust in the Conservative UK government, while Labour supporters, who were mainly Remainers, trust the Welsh government much more.
There is clearly much more that we need to do to find out about public knowledge of and attitudes towards the whole Brexit process. I very much hope that Cardiff University will be able to provide much of that research. But what does already seem clear is that in the several months since the referendum, the divisions on this issue have not yet begun to heal.
Non-partisan thoughts on elections, voting and political representation from Roger Awan-Scully of Cardiff University.