In a recent poll conducted by BMG on behalf of Change Britain, almost a third (32%) of the British public said that they would be less likely to vote for the Conservative Party if the government agreed to a deal that left the UK subject to rulings by EU courts.
The results of the poll imply that the terms of the deal will be critical to its support.
As BMG polling showed in early 2016, most people did not trust that the EU would deliveron the previous deal negotiated by former Prime Minister David Cameron. With this in mind, it is hard to see how the public, and more specifically – Conservative voters – would support continued EU influence over UK affairs.
The polling evidence suggests that a deal which isn’t clearly respectful of issues most salient during the referendum campaign, is set to be interpreted by Conservative supporters as something of a stitch-up, and simply will not be far enough for Remain voters to consider voting Tory.
Dissatisfaction was most likely to come from Conservative and UKIP voters, of whom 46% and 64% respectively said that they would be less likely to vote for the Tories should the deal allow continued EU influence.
Overall, 42% of the public said that the outcome would not change their likelihood of voting Conservative at the next General Election, however, most of these are currently supporters of other parties, all of whom are in a majority consensus that EU influence over UK affairs is not enough to improve the chances of them voting Tory.
When asked if a deal that gave the EU a degree of control over the UK’s ability to strike free trade deals with other countries, Britons were most likely (43%) to say that their probability of voting Conservative would not change.
However, the electoral calculus does not help the Conservatives, but hinders them significantly. Just over a quarter (26%) said that this outcome would make them less likely to vote Conservative, whereas only a tenth (10%) said it would make them more likely.
Readers should not be fooled by the top-line results. Although current Conservative party supporters were most likely to say that they would be more likely to vote Conservative again, should the EU have a hand in future UK trade deals (15%), it is Conservatives too, who were most likely to say that they would stop supporting the Tories over this issue (36%).
Similarly, should the UK be seen to be handing over billions to the EU as part of a free trade arrangement, the results suggest that support for the Conservatives would weaken also.
The results of this poll imply that the current arrangements agreed by May’s government at Chequers this week, put the Conservatives in a sort of ‘no-mans-land’. The deal is clearly not close enough to current arrangements with the EU for Remain voters to consider voting Tory at future elections; and is not far enough from the EU for many Conservative supporters to continue lending them their vote. As a consequence, core Conservative support may be set to slide.
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
Dr. Michael Turner – Research Director & Head of Polling – BMG Research
Thomas Speed – BMG Summer Placement Student – BMG Research