6 in 10 say Brexit has made no difference to their daily life

While most Britons have not noticed a difference to their daily lives as a result of Brexit, more have noticed a negative impact than a positive one

The author(s)

  • Kelly Beaver Managing Director, Public Affairs
  • Gideon Skinner Head of Political Research
  • Dylan Spielman Public Affairs
Get in touch
  • 6 in 10 say Brexit has made no difference to their daily life, but more say they have seen a negative effect than a positive
  • Autonomy over laws and regulations and better response to COVID-19 seen as most positive outcomes from leaving the EU while barriers to trade and freedom of movement top list of negative outcomes
  • Most Britons expect the nature of the relationship between the EU and UK to continue to be negotiated over the next few years as they consider there to be at least some major issues still to be resolved.

A new online survey by Ipsos MORI in partnership with EU|UK Forum shows 6 in 10 (58%) of Britons have seen no difference to their everyday life as a result of Britain’s exit from the European Union. However, more have seen a negative impact than a positive one; 28% say Brexit has made their daily life worse while only 1 in 10 (11%) say there has been a positive change.

Most people have not notices an impact of Brexit on their daily lifeThe proportion of people who say they have seen a negative impact on their daily lives rises among certain groups, including Graduates (38%), those in Scotland (35%), AB social class (35%), and those aged 45-54 (34%). Those who voted for the Labour Party or the Liberal Democrats in 2019 are most likely to say then have seen negative changes (43%) and 55% respectively. Almost half (47%) of 2016 Remain voters say they have been negatively impacted. 

Six in ten (59%) say they personally know no one who has been affected by Brexit. Only 9% say they know someone who has been positively impacted by Britain’s exit from the EU, 24% know someone who has been negatively affected.

Britons are most likely to believe Britain’s exit from the EU is working just as expected; 46% say the current situation meets their expectations. Just over a quarter (27%) say that Brexit is working out worse than they had expected, increasing to 45% among those who voted to remain in 2016. Sixteen per cent say it is better than they had predicted. 

Positive outcomes of Brexit 

Regardless of their vote in the 2016 EU Referendum, 24% believe that Britain’s gaining of control over its laws and regulations is one of the most positive outcomes of Brexit. Similarly, 22% believe its ability to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic better is an upside. 

The top most positive outcome of leaving the EU is Britain gaining control over its laws and regulationsOther positive outcomes of Brexit include Britain’s new ability to make its own decisions generally (21%), the ability to make independent international trade agreements (19%) and greater control over immigration and borders (18%). 

However, 1 in 5 (19%) say that there are no positive outcomes to Brexit, increasing to 37% of remain voters. 

Among those who voted to leave in 2016, 39% say that gaining control of their own laws and regulations was a key positive for Britain. Three in ten (31%) also say greater control over immigration and borders, the ability to make independent international trade agreements and make their own decisions generally are all positive outcomes for the country.

Negative outcomes of Brexit

Britons are most likely to choose the increased barrier to trade between the UK and EU as one of the most negative outcomes of Brexit (28%), similarly, a quarter (25%) say the end of freedom of movement between the UK and EU is a significant downside. 

One in five (19%) view the decrease in international cooperation between the UK and EU as one of the most negative outcomes while 17% say the same for the increased divisions between the nations of the UK and the uncertainty caused. 

Around 1 in 10 (13%) believe there are no negative outcomes to Brexit, increasing to 28% of those who voted to leave in the 2016 referendum. 

Among remain voters, the end of freedom of movement between the UK and EU is seen as the most negative outcome by 40% while 35% view the increased trade barriers between the country and the international organisation as a significant downside. 

The top negative outcome of Brexit is increased barriers to trade between the UK and EU

Over the next few years

Looking to the near future, most Britons believe there are still many issues to finalise in Britain’s future relationship with the EU, therefore there will be lots more negotiations over the next four years (44%). 

Most people think negotiations over Britain's future relationship with the EU will continue in the next few yearsJust over a quarter (27%) believe that while the broad outlines of Britain’s future relationship with the EU will not change much, there are still some important areas left to decide. 

Only 1 in 10 (11%) say the future of Britain’s relationship with the EU is now mostly decided and will hardly change over the next few years. 

Kelly Beaver, Managing Director of Public Affairs at Ipsos MORI, said:

Brexit hasn’t gone away, and people recognise that, but many of the personal impacts that people expected to experience haven’t materialised (as yet). The public see the positive outcomes from Brexit mostly linked to an increase in control – including on laws and regulations, but also in relation to the UK’s ability to act independently around its response to the pandemic. This of course, is traded off against the negatives which are mostly perceived as an increase in barriers to trade and mobility. Many of these outcomes are still to be fully realised – both the positive and the negative – and the public recognise that there is still a fair amount of negotiation to take place in the years to come.

Paul Adamson, Chairman of Forum Europe and the EU|UK Forum says: 

A large majority of respondents - as in the 2019 and 2020 polling - indicate that it it will be important for Britain to have a close relationship with the EU and a significant proportion recognise that there are still many important issues to finalise in that relationship. However, it is now viewed as automatic with respondents evenly divided as to whether a close relationship is likely or not

Technical notes

  • Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 2,385 British adults aged 16+. Interviews were conducted online from 12th to 15th March 2021. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population. All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error.
     

The author(s)

  • Kelly Beaver Managing Director, Public Affairs
  • Gideon Skinner Head of Political Research
  • Dylan Spielman Public Affairs

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