Europe still seen as most important relationship for Britain

Despite voting to leave the European Union in June last year, Europe is still seen as the most important relationship for Britain compared with America or the Commonwealth.

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Head of Political Research
  • Glenn Gottfried Public Affairs
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A majority of Britons say Donald Trump should have been invited for an official state visit although should not give a speech in parliament

Despite voting to leave the European Union in June last year, Europe is still seen as the most important relationship for Britain compared with America or the Commonwealth. Half (47%) of the public chose Europe as most important to Britain, compared with three in ten (29%) who chose America and one in five (19%) who say it is the Commonwealth. Europe has consistently been seen as most important to Britain since the 1980s, while America has been seen as more important than the Commonwealth since the turn of the millennium (with the exception of a drop in 2014).

 

As Britain prepares to make its place in a post-Brexit world the new Ipsos MORI poll asks Britons which foreign leaders they think Theresa May should try to build the strongest relationship with over the next couple of months. Angela Merkel and Donald Trump are seen as the most important by the public with 26% picking the German Chancellor and 24% the American President. Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, was also seen as important (chosen by 17%) followed by Chinese President Xi Jinping (12%). Fewer picked Russian President Vladimir Putin (5%) while French President Francois Hollande ranked lowest (3%), perhaps a reflection that he only has weeks left in office.

 

Despite controversy surrounding the proposed state visit of Donald Trump a slim majority of the public (53%) think that he should have been invited this year (42% think that he should not have). The state visit is divided along political lines with seven in ten (72%) Conservatives saying Mr Trump should have been invited (26% say he should not have) compared with 37% of Labour supporters (57% say he should not have).

Last week saw much discussion on what Donald Trump should do while in Britain. A slim majority of the public (52%) believe that if he does visit he should not be invited to give a speech to peers and MPs in the Houses of Parliament (43% think he should) while Britons are split on whether or not he should visit a London mosque or Muslim community group (44% think he should and 47% think he should not). Britons are also split on the proposal to play a round of golf on the Queen’s golf course at Balmoral – 45% think he should be invited to do so while 43% think he should not.

 

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

“Donald Trump’s personal popularity may be low, but that doesn’t stop most Britons supporting the invitation for a state visit. He is tied with Angela Merkel as the top priority for Theresa May to build a strong relationship with. There is, however, a clear gender divide, with women consistently being much less positive about him than men."

Technical note:

Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,044 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 10th – 14th February 2017. Data are weighted to the profile of the population.

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Head of Political Research
  • Glenn Gottfried Public Affairs

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