The transition period for the UK to agree a trade deal with the EU is set to expire on the 31st December this year. However, as the coronavirus crisis continues, BMG’s latest poll for the Independent reveals high levels of public support for an extension to the current deadline.
The poll asked respondents whether they supported or opposed an extension to the deadline, with the question careful not to prompt respondents specifically about the current crisis – although it is likely this is at the forefront of many respondents’ considerations.
Our results show a plurality, some 47%, are in support of an extension. This compares to around one quarter (23%) who are opposed, with three in ten (30%) stating either don’t know or saying they have no view either way.
It will come as no surprise that Leave voters were more likely to be opposed an extension beyond 31st December, with more opposed (45%) to an extension than are supportive (34%). However, it is notable that at third of Brexit supporters are in favour of prolonging the transition period, highlighting the extent to which the current crisis may be causing pro-Brexit voters to re-evaluate whether they believe the current timetable is now realistic.
Meanwhile, just one in ten (10%) Remain voters stated they would oppose an extension, with two-thirds (66%) supportive.
Examining the results by how the general public voted in the 2019 general election, we find two thirds (64%) of Labour voters supported an extension, which compares to around a third (35%) of Conservative voters.
Commenting on the poll, Robert Struthers, Head of Polling at BMG, said:
“Despite the Government insisting they are sticking to the New Year’s Eve deadline, it is perhaps unsurprising that there are high levels of support for an extension to the deadline given the situation the country now faces.
Partisan allegiances on the Brexit question still shape public sentiment. But the stark reality of the Covid-19 pandemic means as many as a third of those who voted to Leave say that they are in favour of an extension.
Indeed, it is likely that many in this category would have not been able to imagine many circumstances that would have seen them support such a move just a matter of weeks ago. It is possible that as the crisis continues, support for an extension from across the partisan divide will only get higher – but only time will tell.”
BMG interviewed 1,541 GB adults aged 18+ between 7th-9th April 2020.
An article based on these polling results, released by the Independent, can be found here.
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.
Hollie Gibson – Research Executive