Third of people feel “angry” at prospect of UK leaving EU without

The survey, run by the University of Exeter and ORB International among 5,000 people living in England, was funded by the ESRC as part of the UKRI covid-19 rapid response.

A third of people feel “very angry” at the prospect of Britain leaving the EU without a deal, according to a major new survey which suggests people are resigned to the failure of Brexit talks.

Ten per cent of people who took part in the research who thought there would be a delayed deal said they would be very angry, while 38 per cent who thought a deal more likely said they would be very relieved by that outcome.

The survey, run by the University of Exeter and ORB International among 5,000 people living in England, was funded by the ESRC as part of the UKRI covid-19 rapid response.

A total of 41 per cent who took part in the research thought coronavirus had made it more likely that the UK will leave without a deal, while 20 per cent thought a deal would be delayed and 8 per cent thought the pandemic would have no impact.

A total of 4 per cent thought the impact of coronavirus meant staying in the EU was more likely, and 8 per cent thought the virus would have no impact.

Respondents were also asked about the relative impact of Brexit on different groups in society.

A total of 21 per cent of people questioned thought Brexit would have a much more negative impact on young people, and 28 per cent thought it would have a much more negative impact on poorer people. A third thought it would have the same impact on rich and poor and 7 per cent thought it wouldn’t have a negative impact on either.

A total of 16 per cent thought Brexit would be more negative for those living in rural areas, compared to 13 per cent who predicted a more negative impact on cities. 9 per cent of people said it wouldn’t have a negative impact on either type of area.

A total of 31 per cent of people said Brexit would be a little or much more negative for people from ethnic minorities, compared to 3 per cent for white people. 44 per cent of respondents thought it would have the same impact on both and 8 per cent thought it wouldn’t have a negative impact on either.

Professor Dan Stevens, from the University of Exeter, who led the survey, said: “These results show that there is widespread pessimism and anger about Brexit in the public in the current context. There is also the feeling that some of the inequalities we have seen with Covid-19, for example the more negative impact on ethnic minorities and the poor, are also there with Brexit.”

Dr Katharine Tyler, the project’s principal investigator said: “These findings on people’s attitudes to Brexit and Covid-19 illustrate the strong feelings that the public have about both events. They also highlight the ways in which people understand these social and political events to be entwined when they think about their impact on society”.

Professor Susan Banducci said: “Our data were collected in advance of the controversy surrounding the internal market bill and the admission that the government would be breaking international law. We will be able to track the impact of these events on how citizens feel when we go into the field for our next round of surveys. These attitudes are important because they are related to trust in government and willingness to comply with rules.”

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