Another poll shows support for referendum on Brexit deal

A poll carried out for the Left Foot Forward blog showed a clear majority in favour of another vote on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations if there were no deal. This is the second time in a week that there has been a majority for the people to have the final say on the deal.

Our policy of a referendum on the deal is not one that every Liberal Democrat warms to. It won the day in the Conference debate this year but there are those Lib Dems who think that we should actually go further and be more vociferously in favour of revoking Article 50 and a small number who think we should accept Brexit is happening and abandon any attempt to change course. However, it might be a bit daft to abandon a policy just as it is becoming popular.

Tom Brake had this to say about today’s poll:

This is the second poll in less than a week that backs the Liberal Democrat policy of a vote on either the terms of any Brexit deal or, worse still, a no deal.

There is a growing consensus that the deal, or whether we crash out, is so vital to the UK’s future that it cannot just represent the hallucinogenic vision of a few Brexiters who want to leave the EU regardless of the damage to our economy or political standing around the world. They fear letting the public have any control of this process.

A vote on the terms of a deal, or on a no deal, is now the preference of the public. In either scenario, this must include the option of an Exit from Brexit.

We need to build on this by clearly showing clearly how we can get ourselves out of this awful mess.

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14 Comments

  • Peter Watson 10th Dec '17 - 1:37am

    And on 18 June 2016 the same polling company said “Final BMG/Herald Result – Remain 53.3%, Leave 46.7%.” Polling has been noticeably unreliable when it comes to Brexit, generally under-representing Brexit supporters.

    There’s a lot of clutching at straws by Remainers on this site, reading the runes from polling data which on the whole still looks inconclusive and little changed despite this awful government’s performance.

    Flipping it round, one could look at the polling reported in this article and say, even if there is no Brexit deal on the table, only “54% of those with a view would back a second vote”: even if all of that 54% would vote to exit from Brexit (which the source article does not claim) that leaves a lot of people content with a no deal Brexit.

    Even the first of the two polls mentioned, (presumably Survation’s on 4 December) simply asked if respondents would support a referendum to accept or reject the deal without making it clear if that meant rejecting the deal or rejecting Brexit (that same poll showed 48.3% vs. 51.7% would still vote for Brexit but there is the usual caveat about Brexit polling flattering Remain).

    This matters because if the polling data is unreliable and if those interpreting it are cherry-picking results or wilfully misinterpreting them, then any decisions made on the back of that will be poor ones. It was suggested that Lib Dems used private polling before the 2015 General Election and lulled themselves into a false sense of security. It was reported that the pound rose on the day of the Brexit referendum because private exit polling commissioned by banks/financiers showed a win for Remain.

    It is not clear that there is an appetite for a second Referendum (after all, voting intention for the Lib Dems is as lousy as ever despite a signature policy of offering such a referendum) and it is not clear that voters have changed their mind about their choices in 2016. This article implies the battle is won but i would suggest that is far from the truth.

  • Opinion polls, like referenda, are a poor basis for legislation and determining the future of the nation. They can stimulate argument but are no substitute for considered judgment by accountable representatives. Curiously Michael Gove has got something almost right with his comments about people having every right to vote in a different Government – only his timing is wrong. If MPs were prepared to vote according to their beliefs we could “get out of the awful mess” in a matter of weeks. Gove presumably envisages a General Election in 2021. However the stakes are so high that it would be perfectly proper to hold one when negotiations about leaving the EU are complete (or when they go so badly that the country is in utter crisis). Candidates would have to declare their views and people could vote in that context for those whom they believed to be the most appropriate to represent them in the proper place for decisions to be taken.

  • Andrew Tampion 10th Dec '17 - 7:14am

    “If MPs were prepared to vote according to their beliefs we could “get out of the awful mess” in a matter of weeks.”

    The most likely consequence of MPs voting to withdraw Article 50 and remain in the EU would be a substantial swing to UKIP and probably dozens if not hundreds of UKIP MPs at the next General Election. That is an even bigger mess.

  • Andrew,
    Unless someone puts a considrable amount of money behind Deadkip they won’t be able to stand candidates. I fear you are being frightened by a dead dog, it can’t bite it can only stink the place out. The threat of Deadkip is over, a replacement may (in fact probably will rise) but I suspect that will be a rebadged nasty party (aka our friendly Tory party). The kippers are in parliament Andrew, they sit on the government benches tens if not hundreds of them.

  • Andrew Tampion 10th Dec '17 - 10:58am

    frankie
    Early New Year Resolution: I refuse to engage in debate with anyone who doesn’t publish their full real name.

  • Andrew,
    I think I understand it’s difficult when you realise your nightmare has come true. We all feared UKIP but failed to understand in the likes of Bone and co actually already sat in parliament. The Tories are I’m afraid UKIP with a few photo friendly characters to disguise the reality. What a pity we made the mistake of dealing with them in 2010.

  • Frankie
    I dislike them . but I suspect “deadkip” could be revived quickly. Even in 2010 they were barely getting a couple of percent of the vote. Their rise was recent and rapid, mostly amongst disaffected Tories on the south coast. They’ve only ever had one MP. They’re an existential threat in Conservative circles. Coz the rabid free market mantra coupled with the whole blazer, slacks, yacht club and Empire shtick as currency amongst a wing on the Tory voting public.

  • The logic of having a vote on the final deal is compelling. In business, companies will agree to the concept of a deal “in principle” (non-binding), and only when the details of the contract are determined will it go to respective boards for them to agree to a binding commitment (even then, there could be occasion to change minds if there is a significant adverse change). The referendum in 2016 feels like an agreement to the deal concept. When we get the final details, the people (our board) must be given the opportunity to sign off!

    By the way, I note that The hard Brexiteers are already looking a ways to make any deal harder, and it is obvious that they are really scared of asking the people to approve the deal. They have everything to lose!

  • One poll does not mean much but there is a trend towards a referendum over several polls. It is beginning to look like a soft Brexit anyway so the Tories are in for quite a row (see Conservative Home). A soft Brexit might make it easier for us to get back in if we do leave.

  • The press are trying to make out the deal Mrs May achieved is a triumph. Looking at the comments underneath the artifices is enlightening though, very few of the commentators seem to agree. The Brexiteers are being pulled apart as the struggle between the Fundis and the Realo-faction intensifies. Some of the leadership are trying to keep a foot in both camps, but to mix metaphors they’ll struggle to ride one horse never mind two.

    As Brexit continues reality and the fact everyone voted for their own personal Brexit will continue to pull the process apart. Meanwhile government is neglected and people are starting to get sick of Brexit, but we have years of it yest to come. While it continues political paralysis will continue to grip the country and our situation will deteriorate. Brexiteers where warned they had opened Pandora’s box, but no everything would be simple; alas they where wrong and I’m having trouble detecting hope at the bottom of the box or even a kind fairy godmother who will wish it all away.

  • A lot of this kind of argument only really has a bearing within the Conservative Party. Practicality says soft Brexit, so that’s what you’ll get. What happens to the Tories is their tuff luck. The have a tenuous “grip” on power and are a couple of seats away from collapse.
    As for “their own personal Brexit” argument. That’s politics. The pro-Eu camp includes people who want reforms, people who want an end to free movement. people who want more freedom of movement, people who want a federal Europe, people who want to block it, people who think it’s a free market. people who think it’s protecting the markets. plus a lot of people who just fear for their wallets and so on. Politics is messy because the political classes have ideologies/philosophies and the people who vote for them are resistant because by and large they don’t see it that way. This is why pragmatism was invented.

  • Peter Hirst 11th Dec '17 - 1:21pm

    It all depends on what sort of deal is struck. It is also important that it is circulated widely and people can come to a considered decision. It is new decision. On the terms on offer would you prefer to continue or exit from Brexit? Will Labour offer this in their manifesto for whenever the next General Election occurs? Or will the Conservatives decide to alter course and offer it as another referendum? It is becoming more likely.

  • Peter Watson 12th Dec '17 - 1:54pm

    Here are some snippets from more polling on Brexit, this time from Yougov on 10-11 December, with all the usual caveats about reliability (https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/5tu7akhw6z/TimesResults_171211_VI_Trackers_w.pdf).

    In hindsight, do you think Britain was right or wrong to vote to leave the European Union?
    Right 44%, Wrong 45% (c.f. 42% & 45% on 4-5 December)

    Which of the following best reflects your view of how the government should proceed with the issue of Brexit?
    The government should continue with Brexit on its current negotiating terms 43% (c.f. 45% on 34-24 Oct)
    The government should reconsider its aims in Brexit negotiation, and seek a “softer” Brexit 9% (c.f. 10% on 34-24 Oct)
    The government should offer a second referendum to see if Britain still wants to go ahead with Brexit 16% (c.f. 19% on 34-24 Oct)
    The government should abandon Brexit completely and remain a member of the European Union 15% (c.f. 12% on 34-24 Oct)

    Once the Brexit negotiations are complete and the terms of Britain’s exit from the EU have been agreed, do you think there should or should not be a referendum to accept or reject them?
    Should 33%, Should not 42% (c.f. 32% & 46% on 23-24 October)

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