BMG’s latest polling for the Independent examines some of the possible public preferences to various options, should Theresa May’s deal not be accepted by MPs in today’s crunch vote.
Three options were tested using a question that followed an identical format. Respondents were asked to imagine a scenario where “the Brexit deal is voted down by MPs”, and asked the extent to which they would support or oppose each of the following scenarios taking place:
- The UK leaving the EU without a deal
- The UK simply remaining in the EU
- Theresa May being given a chance to try and renegotiate further with the EU
In order to reduce possible question order biases, each of the scenarios was shown to the respondent at random.
As the table below shows, of the three options put to the public, 45% both supported Theresa May being given a chance to try and renegotiate further with the EU and the UK simply leaving without a deal. Whilst support for these options was identical, opposition to the UK simply remaining was slightly higher at 39% (compared to 34% for May being given a chance to further renegotiate).
Support was lower for the UK leaving without the deal, with one third in favour (35%) and close to half (45%) in opposition.
Gulf in preference depending on Brexit vote
Unsurprisingly, there is a considerable gulf in preferences depending on how people voted in the EU referendum. The UK leaving the EU without a deal attracts the support of around two thirds of Leave voters (66%), which compares to just 15% of Remain voters.
Whilst support for leaving the EU without a deal is high among Leave voters, Remain voters are more likely still to back the UK simply remaining in the EU, at some 81%.
Nonetheless, it is certainly noteworthy that over one in ten (15%) of those that supported Remain in 2016 now say they would be prepared to see the UK Leave without a deal, with a similar share (13%) of Leavers also saying that they would be prepared to see the UK remaining.
The notion of Theresa May going back to Brussels to try and renegotiate a better deal attracts similar levels of support across the Leave-Remain divide: 51% for Leave and 47% for Remain. That said, this option leaves respondents with license to imagine what further sort of deal further negotiations may bring. Had the question set out more specific aims, or indicated whether the aim of the negotiations would be to facilitate either a closer or more distant relationship, we probably would be presented with a more polarised picture.
Support for Parliament backing May’s deal
There is some evidence to suggest that opposition to MPs backing May’s deal in parliament has declined since December of last year. When asked if the UK Parliament should vote to accept the deal agreed between the UK Government and the EU, 37% said that they believe MP’s should vote against the deal, down from the 43% in December.
There is some evidence to suggest that Remain voters may reluctantly be getting behind May’s deal in greater numbers as the prospect of no deal looms. Overall changes to the levels of support and opposition appear to be largely explained by an increase in the number of Remain voters supporting the deal being backed in Parliament. Just 23% said MPs should support the deal in December, compared to 32% this month.
Methodology, fieldwork dates, and a full breakdown of these results can be found here.
Please note that our method has changed after the 2017 General Election. Full details 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
Marcos Contopoulos – Research Manager
Robert Struthers – Senior Research Executive