More Britons think things heading in ‘right direction’ than ‘wrong direction for the first time since last April

Britons become more positive about the direction of their country while the number of people who think Brexit has had a positive impact on the country increases

The author(s)

  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs
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Ipsos MORI’s March Political Pulse, a nationally representative online survey of British adults taken last weekend, shows 41% of Britons think things in Great Britain are heading in the ‘right direction’ (+5 pts from February) and 36% think things are heading in the wrong direction (-1). These figures mark a sharp contrast to how we started the year. In January, almost twice as many Britons thought things were heading in the ‘wrong direction’ (46%) as the right one (24%). 

Direction of the countryThe current ‘net positive’ score of +5 in March represent the first net positive score on this measure since April 2020. However, old divides persist. 73% of 2019 Conservative voters think things are heading in the ‘right direction’ compared to 60% of Labour voters that think things are heading in the ‘wrong direction’. Similarly, whilst 57% of Remain voters think things are heading in the ‘wrong direction’, 57% of Leave voter think things are heading in the ‘right direction’.

On the subject of Brexit, this latest trend data is notable for the fact that roughly equal numbers of Britons now think the UK’s decision to leave the EU has had a positive impact on the country (39%) as negative (38%).  This represents an 8-point increase in positive sentiment and an 8 point decrease in negative sentiment since February alone. 

Impact of the UK's decision to leave the EUKeiran Pedley, Director of Politics at Ipsos MORI, said of the findings: 

As lockdown restrictions start to ease, there is clearly more optimism about the future amongst the British public. Meanwhile, it is striking how we have witnessed such a sharp increase in positive sentiment towards Brexit in just a month. Whilst this data cannot directly link such an increase to the vaccine rollout and related rows between the UK and the EU, it would be a surprise if this wasn’t playing a part in this shift in sentiment. What we don’t know is if it will prove permanent or merely a moment in time.

Note to editors

  • Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,128 British adults aged 18+. Interviews were conducted online from 26-29 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)

  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs

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