The latest BMG poll for the Independent (published 3rd October) reveals that the public are divided on the terms of Britain’s negotiated exit of the European Union, with a slight majority in favour of the UK opting for a ‘soft’ rather than a ‘hard’ Brexit.

The Independent/BMG poll defined two Brexit options for respondents to our poll, ‘Hard’ and ‘Soft’:

‘Soft Brexit’ – where the UK retains a degree of access to the single market in return for giving some concessions to the EU in terms of immigration to the UK.

‘Hard Brexit’ – where the UK leaves the single market and gains full control over all aspects of immigration.

Overall, 52% of those polled said they would prefer a ‘Soft Brexit’, where the UK retains some degree of access to the single market in return for some EU immigration whilst 48% said that they would prefer to see a ‘Hard Brexit’.

Just one in 6 (16%) of Ukip supporters said that they are in favour of a Soft Brexit. By contrast, more than two thirds (68%) of Labour and Lib Dem supporters would prefer a Soft Brexit. Conservatives are more split on the issue, with two fifths (41%) of Tories opting for Soft, rather than Hard Brexit.

As you might expect, of those who voted to remain in the EU almost four fifths (79%) would prefer a “soft Brexit” compared with just one fifth those who voted to leave (22%).


Readers can interrogate the data for themselves by toggling with the chart below

May more in touch with working class people than her predecessor

The poll also asked a series of questions that sought to assess who was more compassionate on number of key issues; the Prime Minister or her predecessor? These issues/topics were; the effects of immigration, working class people, children from poorer backgrounds and their political own careers.

The results suggest that the public feel that Mrs May is seen to be more compassionate on a number of issues, particularly the working class and children from poor backgrounds. On caring about the lives of working class people, a clear majority (70%) back May, while just 30% said David Cameron. When asked who is more concerned about children from poorer backgrounds, similarly mopre than two thirds (69%) backed May and less than one third (31%) Cameron.

When asked who is more concerned about the effects of immigration, May came out on top again with three fifths of the public (59%) selecting her, compared with just 41% for Cameron.

Finally, when asked which politician is/was the most concerned with their career, a convincing two thirds (65%) believe it was David Cameron compared with just one third (35%) for Theresa May.

Research Director & Head of Polling, Dr Michael Turner said:

“Our polling for the Independent suggests that Theresa May is seen to be almost universally more popular than her predecessor on a number of key issues, particularly among Conservatives, but also among working class families and the working poor. Though there are obvious differences between the current and former PM, it is May’s perceived attitude towards working class families and those who are struggling to get by that is perhaps most emblematic of the difference that the public sees between them.

“Evidently, Mrs May has recognised early on that Cameron never quite shook off his “posh-boy” image with voters, and concerted efforts by May to present herself as a leader that empathises with the less well-off in Britain are now paying dividends. In May, the Conservatives have formidable leader who is seen to be in touch with a broad spectrum of Britain.”

May was a weak and passive Remain campaigner

The poll also asked respondents to select one of four words that best described Theresa May’s support for the Remain campaign in the run up to the referendum – these were strongly, passionately, weakly or passively.

Just 12% of the public said ‘strongly’ while 21% said ‘passionately’. Most of the public (43%) said Theresa May supported the Remain campaign “weakly” and a further 24% said she campaign “passively”.


An article based on these polling results, released by the Independent, can be found here.

Fieldwork dates and methodology can be found here.

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.


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Lauren Harris – Senior Research Executive

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