Four in ten have confidence in May to get a good deal for Britain in Brexit negotiations. Immigration control is seen as the top priority
In the week that saw the Article 50 bill finally receive Royal Assent, the latest Ipsos Political Monitor finds half of Britons say they don’t have much confidence in Theresa May’s ability to get a good deal for Britain in negotiations with other European leaders (51%, vs 44% who do have confidence). However, there is more confidence in Mrs May than there was in David Cameron in his negotiations before the referendum. In February 2016 just one in three (34%) of the public had confidence in his ability to do so. Furthermore, half (52%) of the British public agree with Theresa May that “no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain”. These views are most strongly held by older people, Conservative supporters, and those with no qualifications. Just over one in three disagree with this (35%).
When it comes to negotiating a deal, immigration control is key, with 61% saying it is essential or very important for the government to achieve full control over its immigration policy. This compares with 43% each who think staying in the single market or making no further contributions to the EU budget after we leave are very important. The single market is especially important to young people, those in social grades A and B, Labour and Liberal Democrat supporters, Londoners and graduates; immigration control is especially important to older people, those in social grades C2DE, Conservative supporters, and those with no qualifications. The uncertainty around the deal that Britain may get could relate to the 37% of the public who say Brexit will make their standard of living worse, while just 18% say it will make it better. Those in social grades A or B, Londoners and those with degrees tend to be more concerned. Expectations of large-scale change amongst the public seem to be declining though, with 40% thinking that it will make no difference, up from 24% in October. Despite these concerns a higher proportion of the public feel Mrs May is doing a good job (49%) at handling Britain’s exit from the EU than a bad job (40%). This is similar to December last year – although there has been a five point rise in those saying she is doing a bad job. The Prime Minister continues to get better ratings than her Government: 36% think the Government is doing a good job, and 52% that it is doing a bad job. Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos, said:
“Mrs May’s personal honeymoon extends to her ratings on Brexit, especially among older people, Conservative supporters and those without qualifications. But while many so far think Brexit will make little difference to their standard of living, expectations for the negotiations are still high – single market access, Britain’s contributions to the EU budget and immigration control are all important to people, and immigration most of all.”
Technical notes Ipsos interviewed a representative sample of 1,032 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone between 10th – 14th March 2017. Data is weighted to the profile of the population.