A new report published this week by Nuffield’s Centre for Social Investigation (CSI) reviews the evidence that has been gleaned from polls and surveys so far about what sort of Brexit deal the British public seems to prefer.
The report forms one of the early outputs of a CSI research project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council’s The UK in a Changing Europe. The project aims to provide an authoritative, non-partisan and impartial reference point for those looking for information, insights and analysis about UK-EU relations that stands aside from the politics surrounding the debate. Since the UK voted to leave the European Union, there has been considerable interest in understanding the various shifts in public opinion as different debates rise to the fore during the course of Brexit negotiations.
Authored by postdoctoral researcher Dr Noah Carl, “What sort of Brexit deal does the British public want?” provides an important contribution to discussions around different types of Brexit deal, from the extremes of a so-called “soft” Brexit, where Britain stays inside the Single Market and the Customs Union, to the so-called “hard” Brexit, where Britain leaves both of these institutions without a trade deal.
The CSI report shows that from a wide range of polls and surveys, about 25-30% of Britons want to stop Brexit completely, and about the same fraction are in favour of a second referendum on Britain’s EU membership. Substantial majorities of the public say they want: EU citizens already living in Britain to have the right to stay, the power to control immigration, and continued free trade with the EU. Averaging over all polls since the EU referendum, the public is about evenly split on the putative trade-off between “soft” versus “hard” Brexit. However, it should be noted that a sizable majority of the public regard continued free movement as incompatible with the referendum result.