62% of Britons think the UK will not achieve a trade deal with the EU this year

Six in ten Britons think the UK will leave the transition period without a trade deal with the European Union, whilst just one in four think this outcome is unlikely.

The author(s)

  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Gideon Skinner Head of Political Research
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs
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  • 6 in 10 think it is ‘likely’ The UK leaves the transition period without agreeing a trade with the EU.
  • Only around 4 in 10 know the deadline for agreeing and ratifying a trade deal with the EU is December this year. 1 in 10 think the deadline is earlier but the rest either don’t know, think the deadline is later or think there is no deadline.  
  • 49% are dissatisfied with Boris Johnson’s handling of Brexit – 38% satisfied

Likelihood chart

A new poll by Ipsos MORI of British adults aged 18+ finds that 62% of Britons think the UK will leave the transition period without agreeing a trade deal with the EU. Just 1 in 4 think this outcome is unlikely. Meanwhile, 6 in 10 Britons think it is unlikely that the UK agrees a trade deal before the end of the transition period that is good for Britain. Just 1 in 4 think a good deal is likely. Conservative voters are the most optimistic, 38% think a trade deal that is good for Britain will be struck before the end of transition – but even half (49%) of Conservative voters think this outcome is unlikely.

Other findings in the poll include:

  • Only around half of Britons know that the deadline for agreeing and ratifying a trade deal with the EU is this year*. 37% think the deadline is December this year and 1 in 10 think it is earlier than that.
     
    • However, 13% think the deadline is in 2021 and 10% say 2022 or later. 25% say they don’t know when the deadline is and 5% say there is no deadline.
  • 38% are satisfied with Johnson’s handling of Brexit, 49% are dissatisfied. 13% don’t know.
     
    • 60% of Leave voters are satisfied with Johnson’s approach, 32% dissatisfied and 8% don’t know.
       
    • However, 76% of Remain voters are dissatisfied with Johnson’s approach, 15% satisfied and 9% don’t know.
  • On the other hand, some 45% don’t know if they are satisfied or dissatisfied with Keir Starmer’s handling of Brexit. 22% are satisfied and 32% are dissatisfied.
     
    • 31% of Remain voters are satisfied with Starmer’s approach, 27% are dissatisfied and 42% don’t know.
       
    • 42% of Leave voters are dissatisfied with Starmer’s approach, 39% don’t know and 19% are satisfied.
  • Johnson’s overall numbers are comparable to a similar poll taken among a different sample of 18-75 year old Britons in October 2019 whereas Starmer’s numbers are much better than Jeremy Corbyn’s (72% of 18-75s were dissatisfied with his approach to Brexit in October).
  • Overall 40% think Brexit has had a negative impact on the country (down 6 points from January this year), 27% think it has had a positive impact ( down 6 points), 24% say it has made no difference (up 9 points) and 9% don’t know (up 3 points).

* Note - respondents in the survey were asked when they thought the deadline was for agreeing and ratifying a trade deal with the EU before they were told when the transition ended and asked what would happen next.

Keiran Pedley, Director of Politics at Ipsos MORI said of the findings:

Britons remain more likely to be dissatisfied than satisfied with Johnson’s approach to Brexit overall, although he retains significant support for his approach among Leave voters, Conservatives and older people. The public are generally pessimistic at the prospect of a good trade deal for Britain being struck with the EU before the transition period ends and the clear expectation is that the UK will exit the transition period without a deal being struck at all. Any sense of a lack of urgency in public opinion on this subject may be explained by the fact many are unaware of when the deadline for a deal is, as coronavirus dominates the news agenda. Of course, many Brexit supporters will be unconcerned as to whether a deal is struck anyway.

Technical note

Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,127 British adults aged 18+ online between 19th and 22nd June 2020

The author(s)

  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Gideon Skinner Head of Political Research
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs

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