Polls show Brexit regret so is so strong that 'Remain' would win a second referendum by 9 points

In this Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019 photo European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, right, prepares to shake hands with British Prime Minister Theresa May, left, before their meeting at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says he can't rule out that a delayed Brexit could mean the United Kingdom would participate in this spring's European Parliament election. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert, file)In this Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019 photo European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, right, prepares to shake hands with British Prime Minister Theresa May, left, before their meeting at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says he can't rule out that a delayed Brexit could mean the United Kingdom would participate in this spring's European Parliament election. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert, file)Associated Press

  • The more familiar British people become with the details of Brexit, the less they like it, according to one of the UK's leading pollsters.
  • There is now a nine-point majority that believes leaving the European Union was "wrong," YouGov found. It's the biggest majority against Brexit since the poll was instigated.
  • A majority would vote "Remain" if a second referendum was held.
  • Morgan Stanley now predicts Brexit will be delayed, possibly opening a window to a second vote.

January marked the 18th straight month that a majority of British people, when asked by YouGov, responded that the 2016 vote to leave the European Union was "wrong." There is now a nine-point majority (i.e. 54-45, without "don't know") who believe the vote to leave the European Union was a mistake. It's the biggest majority against Brexit since the poll was instigated.

brexitPantheon Macroeconomics

At the same time, there is now a similarly solid majority who would vote "Remain," if a second referendum was held, according to data from a NatCen "poll of polls" and research from Morgan Stanley.

BrexitMorgan Stanley

This suggests that the UK is in an ironic position: the government is determined to exit the EU and Theresa May refuses to countenance letting the public revisit the question, even though the public is increasingly against Brexit.

The opposition Labour party refuses to support the deal which the prime minister has negotiated with Brussels, even though leader Jeremy Corbyn personally favours Brexit and the party's official position is to leave the EU.

The increasing majority of Brits who want to remain in Europe are unrepresented in parliament, except by a few dozen "rebel" Labour MPs, MPs in small anti-Brexit opposition parties, and the newly-formed Independent Group.

In that context, it is perhaps unsurprising that that voter preferences for both Conservative and Labour have fallen between three and five points over the past year, according to a running average of the last 10 polls collated by Pantheon Macroeconomics.

PantheonPantheon Macroeconomics

Morgan Stanley analysts Jacob Nell and Bruna Skarica think Brexit will be delayed. "Brexit on March 29 [is] no longer plausible, we think," they told clients in a recent note seen by Business Insider.

"We see an extension to end-June as straightforward. Longer extensions are more complex, as they require a workaround to ensure UK representation in the new European Parliament which takes its seats on July 2. So, while a longer extension is possible, and likely in some circumstances, e.g., if the UK decides to hold a second referendum, which can take 21 weeks according to one respected thinktank, we have made a three-month extension our base case for now."

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