Britons lack confidence that May, Corbyn or Johnson would get a good Brexit deal

The Ipsos MORI September 2018 Political Monitor reveals seven in ten (70%) Britons lack confidence in Theresa May to get a good deal for Britain from other EU leaders in negotiations.

Britons lack confidence that May, Corbyn or Johnson would get a good Brexit deal

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
  • Glenn Gottfried Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
  • Cameron Garrett Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
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  • Economic optimism falls to lowest point this year
  • Britons lack confidence in May, Corbyn and Johnson to get a good deal from Brexit

As the EU summit in Salzburg begins, seven in ten (70%) Britons say they lack confidence that Theresa May will get a good deal for Britain from other EU leaders in the negotiations, according to the latest Ipsos MORI Political Monitor. This is little change from July (72%), and worse than the six in ten who did not have much confidence at the beginning of the year. Three in ten (28%) say they are confident she will get a good deal (up 3 points from July).  Although the Prime Minister stands better among her own party supporters, Conservatives are still split in their level of confidence with her – 45% say they are confident she will get a good deal and half (52%) are not. 

Confidence in Theresa May to get a good Brexit deal

Despite the lack in confidence that Theresa May will get a good deal, Jeremy Corbyn compares no better when asked if he were Prime Minister. Three in ten (28%) say they would be confident in Mr Corbyn to get a good deal (down 5 points from March) while two-thirds (67%) say they would not be confident (up 4 points). Labour supporters are though more confident in their leader than Conservatives are with theirs. Three in five (59%) of Labour supporters say they would be confident in Jeremy Corbyn to get a good deal while 39% would lack confidence.

The new poll also asks if the public think Boris Johnson would get a good deal for Britain from the EU if he were Prime Minister. Again confidence is low, although marginally better than both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn with a third (33%) saying they would be confident in him getting a good deal and 64% saying they would not be. However the former foreign secretary also divides opinion – 44% say they are not confident at all he would get a good deal, compared with 33% for Theresa May (and 42% for Jeremy Corbyn).  Conservative supporters are also split on Mr Johnson, as they are with Mrs May, with 47% saying they would be confident in him to get a good deal and 48% saying they would not be.

Confidence in leaders to get a good Brexit deal

The Ipsos MORI Political Monitor also shows growing economic pessimism, with the highest levels of pessimism in our Economic Optimism Index so far this year. Three in ten (59%) say the economy will get worse over the next 12 months (up 5 points from July) while 15% think it will improve (down 2 points), leaving an Economic Optimism Index score of -44 (down 7 points).  Optimism is particularly low among young people, with 69% of 18-34s pessimistic about the next 12 months, compared with 48% of those aged 55+.

In regular voting intentions, there is little change, with both main parties close to each other.  The Conservatives are on 39%, Labour 37%, and Liberal Democrats 13%.

Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos MORI, said:

Public concern about our relationship with Europe has been reaching historic highs during 2018, and one of the reasons may be the lack of confidence in either of the main party leaders to get a good deal for Britain.  With economic confidence also falling, there are questions for both parties going into the conference season.

Access our long term social and political trends.


Technical Note

Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,070 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 14th – 18th September 2018.  Data are weighted to the profile of the population.

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
  • Glenn Gottfried Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
  • Cameron Garrett Ipsos Public Affairs, UK

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