As May digs her heels in new polling demonstrates the huge unpopularity of her Withdrawal Agreement

As May digs her heels in new polling demonstrates the huge unpopularity of her Withdrawal Agreement

by Brian Monteith
article from Tuesday 4, December, 2018

NEW POLLING on the Withdrawal Agreement commissioned by Global Britain contains no good news for the Prime Minister. Not even a scintilla of Christmas cheer.

The headline result is that more people support what is known as “No Deal” than support her supposed deal with the European Union; but just as interesting is that support for leaving the EU – deal or no deal – is now greater than on the day of the referendum in 2016.

Yes, that’s right, those wishing to give the British people a further say could receive an even bigger slap in the face than the first time round. It almost makes it quite an attractive proposition – were it not such a divisive distraction that also feeds the dragon of a second Scottish independence referendum – so let’s not go there. Let me run through the questions to bring some readers of ThinkScotland a few morning smiles.

The first question asked: “Whether or not you agree that the only options open to the UK now are Theresa May’s deal, no deal or no Brexit, out of those options only, which would you prefer as the outcome for Britain’s negotiations with the EU?” The responses were 25% for Theresa May’s deal; 32% for No Deal and 41% for No Brexit with the UK staying in the EU, with 3% Don’t Knows.

When next asked to choose between Theresa May’s Deal or No Deal – and No Brexit– the responses hardened, delivering 57% for Leaving deal or no deal and 41% for No Brexit, with again 3% Don’t Knows.

When asked “To what extent do you believe that the draft Brexit deal Theresa May has agreed with the EU will result in a true Brexit, and to what extent to do you believe that it would result in the UK staying in the EU in all but name only?”, the responses were: 49% believing it is BRINO, 20% a neutral outcome, and 25% a true Brexit.

Respondents were then asked: “To what extent do you agree or disagree that the draft Brexit deal Theresa May has agreed with the EU represents what Leave voters believed they were voting for in the EU Referendum in 2016?”

The response was that 16% took a neutral view of neither one nor the other, 18% believed it did represent their expectations – but a significant 63% believed it did not.

This was followed by the question: “To what extent do you believe that the draft Brexit deal Theresa May has agreed with the EU respects the 2016 Referendum Result where Britain voted to leave the EU?”

Some 16% were neutral, 36% believed it did respect the 2016 referendum result and 46% – a majority of 10% – believed the deal does not respect the referendum result.

To the last question, “If your local MP supported the draft Brexit deal Theresa May has agreed with the EU, would this make you more or less likely to vote for them in a general election?”, the response was 20% more likely; 37% less likely; 42% no difference; and 2% don’t know. That’s a net 17% of voters who would be less likely to back an MP who supports the Withdrawal Agreement. Let me put that in context: even if about half of that figure were to be a swing against the Conservative general election vote of 43.5% – taking it down to 35% – the Conservative Party would lose 85 seats.

The telephone polling of 2,000 people – weighted by all the usual considerations – was carrie

d out before the EU signed off the Withdrawal Agreement and said there could be no further changes but, importantly, after the general shape of the draft deal was known. With more detail now known and French and Spanish leaders demonstrating their desire to blackmail and humiliate the UK into providing further concessions on fishing, Gibraltar and financial services, I would expect the British public’s kick-back to grow as each day passes.

Although anecdotal, it was interesting to watch a BBC Newsnight clip last Wednesday where a local spectator outside a Stoke City v. Derby County match was interviewed and admitted that although he voted Remain he was now thoroughly a Leaver – in reaction to the way that the EU had behaved towards his country and our negotiators. I do not think this attitude is isolated.

The Prime Minister said in her recent statement to Parliament that MPs in the House of Commons had a “duty to listen to their constituents before taking a decision in the national interest”. The Global Britain poll suggests that if MPs do indeed listen, they should vote against the Government.

The Withdrawal Agreement is not a deal at all, it is only the divorce settlement – but it keeps the marriage very much alive, and as more and more people realise it so it shall become more unpopular – and the Conservative Party along with it. As always, one poll does not an outcome make – we need to look at trends in polling to gain a sense of them being reasonably accurate – but subsequent polling, such as this done by ComRes has shown a similar outcome in attitudes to the Global Britain polling - giving the Prime Minister and her supporters no solace.

Polling of n=2000 respondents with a maximum margin of error of +/- 2.2 per cent at a 95 per cent confidence interval was conducted by IQ Research by telephone from 18th to 22nd November. Respondents were UK residents and eligible to vote in UK general elections with minimum quotas set by age, gender, region, education, occupation, tenure and ethnicity – and data weighted where necessary to ensure it is representative.

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