Five years after Britain voted to leave the European Union, a new report from Ipsos MORI looks at how Britain continues to be divided into distinct groups with divided views about how Brexit is going and on their underlying values.
From Liberal Remainers to Traditionalist Leavers, we compare the contrasting views of these groups on how Brexit is going and Britain’s ongoing relationship with the EU. The report also reminds us that just as many people sit in the middle. Politically diverse, these ‘middle’ groups have much less strong Brexit identities, and tend to be less polarised in their views towards both sides.
Stronger Remain and Leave supporters are also both divided themselves into two groups. Remain supporters split into more culturally liberal, internationalist Remainers and more moderate, pragmatically motivated Remainers. While Leave supporters split into more culturally conservative Leavers and more economically right-wing, globalist Leavers.
For example, there are differences by economic and social values:
- 64% of Liberal Remainers agree that ‘political correctness’ is actually a good thing compared with 16% of Anxious Remainers.
- 70% of Traditionalist Leavers and 60% of Anxious Remainers think that things were better in the past compared with 32% of Globalist Leavers and 11% of Liberal Remainers.
- 56% of Globalist Leavers think having a mix of people in the area makes it a more enjoyable place to live compared with just 14% of Traditionalist Leavers.
- 59% of Liberal Remainers and 55% of Globalist Leavers think that globalisation is good for Britain, compared with 31% of Traditionalist Leavers and 46% of Anxious Remainers.
- 91% of Liberal Remainers think migration has had a positive impact on Britain, as do 57% of Anxious Remainers, 43% of Globalist Leavers, and 12% of Traditionalist Leavers.
The groups also differ in their attitudes to Brexit:
- Personally, most Britons have not noticed an impact on their daily lives as a result of Brexit (59% say it has made no difference). But a majority of Liberal and Anxious Remainers say that Brexit has had a negative impact (69% and 59% respectively).
- The groups have different views in what they see as the most positive and negative outcomes of Brexit. A majority (62%) of Liberal Remainers say that there has been no positive outcome of Brexit, while around half of Anxious Remainers can see some benefits. While both groups emphasise the end of freedom of movement and increased trade barriers as negative outcomes of Brexit, ending freedom of movement is a particular issue for Liberal Remainers (54% mention this as a downside).
- Meanwhile, gaining control over Britain’s laws and regulations is seen as a benefit by both pro-Brexit groups (53% and 41% respectively), but Traditionalist Leavers are also more likely to emphasise control over immigration and borders (43%), while Globalist Leavers are more likely to appreciate the ability to make independent international trade agreements (42%).
- A majority of the other three ‘middle’ Brexit groups can see both positive and negative outcomes of Brexit.
- Around two-thirds of Liberal Remainers and Traditionalist Leavers have a very strong Brexit identity, compared with about two in five Anxious Remainers and Globalist Leavers. Among the other groups this falls even further, with just 12% of the Young Middle Britain, 7% of the Politically disengaged and 24% of the Entrepreneurial Young groups feeling a very strong Brexit identity.