Britain still divided on priorities for Brexit negotiations
Theresa May’s personal ratings slip, but still well ahead of Jeremy Corbyn
As Theresa May opens up the new year outlining her Government’s stance on the upcoming Brexit negotiations, Ipsos MORI’s first Political Monitor of 2017 shows a nation divided on what those terms should mean.
According to the new poll 44% believe Britain should prioritise having access to the European Single Market while 42% think the priority should be controlling immigration. This is only a marginal change from October when 45% believed Britain should prioritise Single Market access compared with 39% who to prioritise controlling immigration. Groups more likely to have voted remain in the referendum are amongst those who are more likely to favour access to the Single Market over immigration control. Seven in ten (69%) of those aged 18-34 favour access to the single market (22% favour immigration control) compared with 23% of those aged 55+ (61% favour immigration control) while 63% of those with a degree favour single market access (23% favour immigration control) compared with one in five (20%) with no qualifications (65% favour immigration control).
May’s Brexit speech comes with a small improvement on perceptions over the economy – though most Britons still remain pessimistic. Twenty-seven percent believe the economy will improve in the next 12 months (up 3 points) compared with nearly half (47% - down 4 points) who think it will get worse – leaving an Economic Optimism Index score of -20 (up 7 points).
The poll also reveals that despite most Briton’s being satisfied in Ms May’s performance as Prime Minister her honeymoon ratings have slipped this month. Forty-five percent say they are satisfied with Theresa May (down 5 points) doing her job while two in five (39%) are dissatisfied (up 4 points). In comparison just one in four (26%) are satisfied with Jeremy Corbyn (no change from last month) as leader of the opposition with three in five (61%) dissatisfied (up 3 points). Theresa May remains popular with her party with four in five (78%) Conservative supporters saying they are satisfied with her performance and just 14% dissatisfied. Jeremy Corbyn however is struggling to please Labour supporters with 42% satisfied in him doing his job and just under half (48%) dissatisfied. Both Tim Farron and Paul Nuttall are yet to make an impact on the public with many opting to not state a preference of either leader (45% and 46% saying ‘don’t know’ respectively).
Ipsos MORI’s ongoing voting intentions figures show the Conservatives continue to hold a strong lead over Labour. The Conservatives currently stand at 43%, compared with Labour at 31%, the Liberal Democrats at 11% and UKIP at 6%.
Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos MORI, said:
“Theresa May has called for the country to come together after Brexit, but the divisions on single market access vs immigration control show no signs of going away. Meanwhile, her personal ratings have slipped, as new Prime Ministers’ tend to do, but are still way ahead of Jeremy Corbyn among almost every group of the population.”
Notes to Editors:
Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,132 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 13th – 16th January 2017. Data are weighted to the profile of the population.