Half of Britons think it is unlikely that UK will leave the EU by Oct 31

Brexit Barometer reveals half of Britons now think it is unlikely that UK will leave the EU by October 31st
12 September 2019
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Luke Taylor

Head of Opinion Polling, Public Division, UK

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Kantar research (5th – 9th September 2019) finds that:

  • Fewer than one in three Britons think it is ‘likely’ that the UK will leave the EU by the 31st October 2019 (30%, -16 vs August 2019), with more than half thinking it is ‘unlikely’ (51%, +16). One in five people ‘don’t know’ (19%, nc)
  • 53% of Britons are in favour of any final deal or agreement reached by the government being put to a public referendum (+1 vs August 2019). 29% say it shouldn’t (nc) and 18% say they ‘don’t know’ (-1)
  • Remaining in the EU/ Revoking Article 50 continues to be the most popular outcome for the public, with one in three saying this is their most favourable scenario (32%, -1 vs August 2019)
  • Leaving the European Union with ‘No Deal’ is the preferred outcome for more than two in ten Britons (24%, +1 vs August). 6% (-3 vs August) want to Leave the EU with Theresa May’s deal, and 14% want Britain to leave the EU but remain in the Single Market / Customs Union (+1). Almost one in four people say they ‘don’t know’ what scenario they favour the most (24%, +2 vs August 2019)
  • 37% (nc) of Leave voters and seven in ten of Remain voters (71%, nc) say they want any agreement to be put to a public vote
  • Three in ten (31%, -1) Britons think that a No Deal Brexit would affect them negatively this year, with a further 35% (+2) thinking it will be neither positive or negative, and 20% (-2) believe it would affect them positively
  • One in three of Leave voters (33%, -3) believe the impact on them personally would be positive by the end of this year if the UK left without a deal on October 31st. Conversely, 56% (+4) of Remain voters believe the impact would be negative
  • If a new referendum was held on the UK’s membership of the European Union, 37% of Britons say they would vote to Remain (+1 vs August 2019), 34% say they would vote to Leave (-1 vs August). Almost one in five say they wouldn’t vote (18%, -1) and one in ten ‘don’t know’ (10%, nc)

Public voting intentions

  • Conservative 38% (-4)
  • Labour 24% (-4)
  • Liberal Democrats 20% (+5)
  • The Brexit Party 7% (+2)
  • SNP 4% (-1), Green 3% (nc), The Independent Group for Change 1% (nc), Other 1% (nc), UKIP 1% (+1), Plaid Cymru 1% (+1)

Public opinion on the effects of Brexit and the negotiations

  • 65% of Britons (+6 vs August 2019) rate the government’s handling of the Brexit negotiations as ‘poor’ and 18% (-1) rate their handling of the negotiations as ‘well’
  • When asked about the impact Brexit will have on jobs, NHS care, schools, living costs and peoples’ local area, over four in ten Britons (44%, -2 vs August 2019) believe that Brexit will have negative effects with no positive effects
  • 23% (+1) believe Brexit will have positive effects with no negative effects

Public preparations

  • When asked how likely are they to act ahead of the UK’s departure date from the EU, almost one in three people said they have already or are likely to reduce spending on leisure activities or eating out (32%, +1)
  • Almost one in four people said they are likely to or have already stockpiled food or medicine (23%, nc).

While the proportion of people who answered that they are likely to / have already stockpiled food or medicine is unchanged since last month, there has been an increase in the proportion claiming they have already done this (up 3 percentage points from 6% to 9%). In fact, this is the highest percentage claiming to have done this since we started tracking this measure in October 2018. Previously it has always been between 4% and 6% of the public claiming to have done this.

Public priorities for UK’s exit from the European Union:

According to Kantar’s September Brexit Barometer, the British public’s priorities for the UK’s exit agreement are:

  • More than seven in ten say they want the UK to continue collaborating with the EU on science, research and technology initiatives (72%, +3) and on security and policing (74%, +4)
  • 62% of the public want British companies to have tariff-free access to the EU markets (nc) while 55% want European companies to have the same tariff-free access to UK markets, including services (+3 vs August 2019)
  • 60% of Britons say they want (-1) the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to remain ‘soft’ without any passport control. Whilst 23% said they ‘don’t know’ (+1)
  • 59% (+4) want the UK to draw up its own rules and regulations, even if they clash with EU rules and regulations and for there to be no further contributions to the EU budget (58%, nc)
  • Nearly one in six (58%, +3) of the public want unrestricted rights for UK citizens to live in the EU. Whereas 43% (-2) of Britons want to deny the same unrestricted right for EU citizens to live in the UK
  • More than half (54%, +2 vs August 2019) want the UK to be part of a customs union with the EU to ensure no checks on goods at UK/EU borders, including with Ireland

Editors notes

Methodological information

The survey data and further details on the methodological approach can be found here.

A total of 1,144 interviews were conducted online among adults living in Great Britain between 5th and 9th of September. Interviews were conducted using the Kantar Research Express Online Omnibus, which uses the Kantar online access panel as its sample source.

The data was weighted to match population totals for age, gender, working status, 2017 General Election voting patterns, 2016 EU referendum voting patterns, education, region, and likelihood to vote in the next General Election. Any use of this research must cite Kantar as the source.

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