Brexit: Amid increasing worries, British public narrowly backs May’s Chequers plan

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Saturday, September 29th, 2018

A new GQR poll in partnership with POLITICO shows British sentiment toward Brexit trending down and strong disapproval for Prime Minister Theresa May’s handling of negotiations with the EU. But despite the increased worries, the public marginally backs May’s plan for a new relationship with the EU outside the bloc. The public would not accept a vertiginous “no deal” Brexit, and neither would people be happy with Britain staying inside the EU’s customs union and single market. Between these two extreme forms of Brexit, May’s “Chequers plan” appears to tread a narrow path of acceptability.

Those who would like to reverse the referendum result would need to overcome the public’s tendency to support leaving the EU even under painful circumstances. By 43 to 37%, the public agree that Britain should leave with no deal “if the EU will not make a reasonable deal,” rather than that “we should avoid a no deal Brexit at all costs.” Similarly, by 45 to 40%, people agree “we should leave the EU with whatever is the best deal we can get,” rather than that we should stay in the EU “if there is no Brexit deal that satisfies a majority of people in Britain.”

Conservative MPs considering voting down the Withdrawal Agreement may take pause at the fact that 59% of their voters would disapprove of them doing so, compared to only 11% who would approve. Labour voters give their MPs more leeway, showing net approval whether they vote for or against the deal.

Look out for more detail on this poll in the coming days.

GQR surveyed 1447 adults in Great Britain online between 24 and 26 September. Data were weighted to be nationally representative by gender, age, region, social grade, ethnicity and vote in the 2016 EU referendum.

Data tables are available here.