Brexit polling: almost half of voters want new EU referendum in next decade, YouGov finds

New research from YouGov has found that "Bregret is rife", with 46% of people wanting a vote on re-joining in the next decade.

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Almost half of voters want another EU referendum in the next 10 years, with polling suggesting "re-join" would be likely to win.

New research from YouGov found that "Bregret is rife", with 46% of people wanting a vote on re-joining in the next decade, while 36% are against it. The rest say they don't know. Of those who want the referendum, 70% of remain voters are in favour while 20% of leave supporters want another poll.

And the polling suggests that what would now be termed "re-join" would likely win in a future referendum. Now half of Britons say they would vote to re-join, a figure which has been steadily rising over the past year. And just 30% say they would vote to leave, a figure which has dropped from 33% in June.

However, voters definitely don't want a referendum any sooner than 10 years. Just 26% say there should be a poll held before the end of 2023, with 59% against this, and in the next five years, more people (44%) are still against another vote on our EU membership being held.

Despite these figures, neither the Conservatives or Labour are keen to discuss Brexit ahead of the current election. Rishi Sunak is a Brexiteer, who continues to insist that leaving the EU isn't having a negative effect on business - even when the facts are staring him in the face.

A plurality of voters want another EU referendum in the next 10 years. Credit: Mark Hall/Getty/AdobeA plurality of voters want another EU referendum in the next 10 years. Credit: Mark Hall/Getty/Adobe
A plurality of voters want another EU referendum in the next 10 years. Credit: Mark Hall/Getty/Adobe

There's been a range of Brexit climbdowns from the CE product safety mark to food safety checks, and potentially re-joining the Horizon science funding programme.

And while 69% of Labour voters want another referendum in the next 10 years, Sir Keir Starmer has ruled out the UK re-joining the EU, the single market or the customs union if he becomes Prime Minister.

Only 17% of voters say Brexit is the most important issue facing the country - behind the economy, the NHS, immigration, the environment and housing - down from 73% in September 2019. However, the polls do show a dissatisfaction with how politicians are tackling the issue.

Two-thirds of voters think the government is handling Brexit badly, while just 22% think its being handled well. And confident in the Conservative Party, to deal with leaving the EU has plummeted. It's dropped from 43% in March 2020, to just 21% now - while Labour is not that far behind on 17%, despite previously having just 7% satisfaction.

Pollsters do think this could affect the next election. Seb Wride from Public First, which has carried out some of the most comprehensive polling done on Brexit since the 2016 referendum, believes Tory voters who think Sunak is handling Brexit badly could have an impact.

He told NationalWorld: “Looking ahead to the next election, this feeling is contributing to a sense of broader apathy with most of the political party’s offers. There’s this chunk of people saying Brexit is going badly. There’s a chunk further saying that politicians could have made Brexit work, but they didn’t even try. These voters were majority Conservative in 2019, but now they’re looking elsewhere, they’re looking at Reform, and a chunk of them are looking at Labour.

“So in bad news for Rishi Sunak, the reality is that this does matter to a small but important group that he needs to vote for him in the next election. For Starmer - whose approach has been basically to not talk about Brexit - it’s about being careful. There is scope based on the polling for him to push for something like ‘forming closer relations with the EU'. But if he  starts getting perceived as a Remainer - as someone who’s going to bring us all back to the EU and as someone who could reopen those wounds effectively - it’s going to be a problem.”

Brexit also seems to have had a lasting impact on how people view themselves politically.

“Broader political ideas now seem to split by Remain vs. Leave - and you could imagine it positioned on a traditional political spectrum of liberal/authoritarian or left/right, but it does seem to have opened a specific divide that the parties weren’t opening before,” said Wride.

“We’ve polled people on whether they feel like Leavers and Remainers more than they do Tory and Labour voters and you know, a lot of people don’t really express any political identities as such, but there’s a good chunk who still feel that they’re more of a Leaver than they are Conservative and more of a Remainer than they are a Labour voter.”

“Interestingly, this was quite prevalent among 18-24s, a good chunk of them feel that they’re a Leaver or Remainer before they’re Conservative or Labour - despite none of them getting to vote in the 2016 referendum.”