Two and a half months after he assumed office in Downing Street and with three weeks until the UK’s Brexit deadline of 31st August, BMG has surveyed the public’s thoughts on Boris and Brexit on behalf of the Independent.
Just one in five think that Boris Johnson’s Government will secure a new deal before 31st October
As part of an exclusive poll on behalf of the Independent, BMG asked Brits if they think Boris Johnson’s Government will be able to secure a new Brexit deal with the EU before 31st October.
The majority (58%) of respondents do not think Boris Johnson will be able to secure a no deal before the 31st October. In addition, a greater proportion of respondents said they do not know (22%) if he will be able to secure a new deal, compared to those who felt that he could get a new deal before the end of the month (20%).
Robert Struthers, head of polling at BMG, said:
“As we get closer to the 31 October deadline, our polling is clear that a sizeable majority of the public are sceptical about the prospects of the government striking a deal with their European counterparts. What is also striking is the extent to which Remain voters are much more likely than average to say a deal cannot be done. Some 72 per cent of Remain voters hold this view, which compares to just 12 per cent who think a deal will be agreed in time. That being said, despite the deadline being a matter of weeks away, these numbers are largely consistent with our figures for this question from September and August. So, whilst levels of scepticism are high, there is no evidence to suggest that they have increased over the last two months.”
The preferred outcome of Brexit continues to divide the public
BMG also asked respondents what their preferred outcome of Brexit would be, providing Boris Johnson’s government is not able to negotiate a new deal prior to 31st October. They could choose from the following options:
- Leave the EU without a deal
- Leave the EU with Theresa May’s deal
- Seek an extension to negotiations to try and reach a new deal
- Hold a second in-out referendum
- Revoke the UK’s notice of withdrawal and remain in the EU
- Don’t know
The results of this question indicated that the country is still far from united on how the government should act, should Boris Johnson not negotiate a new deal, with “Leave the EU without a deal” proving the most popular response, with only 34% of responses. This is higher than both the support for a second referendum (20%) and to revoke Article 50 (20%) but is still a way off from a majority verdict.
The greatest indicator of how public preference for this issue continues to fall in line with the way people voted in the 2016 EU referendum. Leave voters were almost twice as likely as the average to support a no deal exit (67%) whilst remain voters were 16 percentage points more likely to advocate revoking article 50 (36%) than the average (20%). This exemplifies how people continue to be split along the leave-remain divide.
Having first asked this question in July 2019, we find only small changes in the main preference for respondents.
Personal assessments of the Prime Minister
Respondents were also asked questions in order to assess Boris Johnson’s personal strengths and characteristics. Respondents were asked six questions on the extent to which they agree or disagree that Boris Johnson is:
- Understanding of problems faced by people like me?
- Dynamic and full of energy
- Capable of managing Brexit
Whilst the conclusions here are mixed, they are generally not favourable for Mr Johnson. The majority of respondents disagree to some extent that he is trustworthy (53%) and understanding of problems faced by respondents (56%). In contrast however, the majority (51%) do agree that he is dynamic and full of energy. From these results it can be said that the public look less favourably on Mr Johnson’s ‘soft’ qualities, i.e. trustworthiness and ability to understand people’s problems, but are less scathing of his more ‘realist’ characteristics such his leadership and competence.
Again, party voting is a strong indicator of how respondents feel about the Prime Minister’s personal characteristics with 2017 Conservative voters twice as likely to strongly agree (16%) that he is trustworthy than the average (8%). Similarly, those who voted Labour in 2017 (11%) are less than half as likely to agree that Boris Johnson understands the problems facing people like me, compared to the average (25%).
Methodology, fieldwork dates, and a full breakdown of these results can be found here.
For a more detailed breakdown of results from this poll, or any other results from our polling series, please get in touch by email or phone.
0121 333 6006
William Webb – Junior Researcher
Andrew Price – Research Executive