The recently-published ICM poll for BBC Wales also included a short set of questions about Brexit. Usefully, these questions were repeated from the same poll conducted last year, so it gives us some opportunity to see if there has been any change in attitudes over the last twelve months.
The question format first of all asked respondents the following:
“Thinking about Brexit, the decision to leave the European Union, do you think it will have a positive or negative impact or make no difference?”
Respondents were then asked about three specific matters:
- To the Welsh economy
- To your own personal finances
- On the way of life in Wales today in general
What did ICM find? Here are the results for each item – with the changes since the poll in 2017 indicated in brackets.
|Welsh Economy||Personal Finances||Way of Life|
|Positive impact||24% (-9)||14% (-3)||23% (-3)|
|Negative impact||49% (+5)||36% (+6)||46% (+9)|
|Make no difference||17% (-1)||41% (-4)||22% (-9)|
|Don’t know||10% (+4)||9% (+1)||9% (+3)|
It is clear that the balance of attitudes was negative on all the questions that ICM asked. This is not particularly new – views on the consequences of Brexit have tended towards the negative for pretty much the entire period since June 2016. Nonetheless, things have become more negative since last year. On all the questions asked, positive and neutral expectations have declined and negative ones have increased.
When one examines the details of the poll, we see that Conservative supporters have more positive expectations of Brexit than do supporters of Labour, Plaid and the Liberal Democrats. This is unsurprising, although even among Conservatives the overall balance is some way from wholly optimistic. For instance, on the ‘Welsh economy’ question, some 38 percent of Conservative (Westminster) supporters say that they expect a positive impact, while 28 percent expect it to be negative (with 22 percent opting for ‘no difference’ and 12 percent saying don’t know).
One thing that we can’t know from the BBC/ICM poll is if these increasingly negative expectations about Brexit are feeding through into whether people still support it, or would do so in the event of another referendum. The poll did not ask about that. However, the Welsh Political Barometer polls have been continuing to ask about that, and the results from this questions in the next such poll will therefore be of particular interest.