A brief note about the Survation poll in today’s Mail. A lot of responses to this have really got the wrong end of the stick – the Daily Mail have, quite obviously, written it up with a very pro-deal slant and have not focused upon elements of the poll showing support for no-deal or for a fresh referendum. Nevertheless, the core of the story – that more people said they wanted MPs to vote to support the deal than wanted MPs to reject it – is quite correct.

Firstly, lets us address social media claims that the poll actually showed opposition to the deal and that the Mail has lied about it. This is untrue. What actually happened is that when the Daily Mail front page was published yesterday Survation has not yet put up the full tables, so people looking for the full results on Survation’s website stumbled upon their previous poll for the Daily Mail, which had shown people opposed the deal. Today’s poll is different – and that’s the point of the Mail’s splash – the poll suggests public opinion has changed.

The two polls asked identical questions about support for the deal (so there’s no jiggery-pokery, so changing the wording – it’s a straight comparison).

Survation’s poll conducted on November 15th found that 61% of people had heard about the deal and of those people 27% supported it, 49% opposed it. The full tables for that poll are here (the chart that lots of people were posting on social media this morning was from this poll)

Survation’s new poll conducted on November 27th asked the same questions, and found 72% had now heard about the deal. Of those people 37% supported the deal (up 10), 35% opposed the deal (down 14). The full tables for that poll are here (Wednesday’s Daily Mail story is about this poll)

In the next question Survation asked how people wanted MPs to vote on the deal. 41% said they would like MPs to vote for the deal, 38% would like MPs to vote against the deal.

So far, so good. The poll shows a sharp increase in support for the deal since it was first announced – a fortnight ago the public were opposed by nearly 2-to-1, now it is pretty much neck-and-neck. While this is only a single poll and one shouldn’t read too much into it until there is other polling evidence to back it up, it does appear to be a very clear shift.

However, before one concludes that the public are now leaning in favour of the deal, it’s also worth looking at the other questions in the poll. The poll also repeated questions asking how people would vote in some hypothetical referendums. These suggests that people continue to prefer remaining in the EU to the deal (Remain 46%(+3), Leave with the deal 37%(+3)) and that in a choice between the deal or leaving without one, they’d go for no deal (No deal 41%(+7), deal 35%(+3)).

This leaves us in a bit of a quandary. People narrowly approve of the deal and think MPs should approve it… but they also prefer both of the two obvious alternatives to the deal. For the record, the poll also finds people in favour of a new referendum on the deal by 48% to 34%. It is hard to resist the conclusion that the public are as unclear as the political classes about their preferred way forward.

2,428 Responses to “Does Survation show the public warming towards the Brexit deal?”

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  1. PRP
    “remember there is no magic money tree..”
    Odd idea, really, if, as I understand, it means you can’t create money out of nothng. Acturally there are two: one is the government borrowing as much as it wants to on the international market; the other is the BoE telling hight street and investment banks they can lend as much as their clients need.
    The first can be justified particularly, as we occasionally hear McDonnell say, when the money is invested to create capital, jobs and and wealth creating assets from which it can be repaid and generate incomes.

  2. Listening to the dismally unimpressive David Lidington on radio 4 this morning its pretty clear what the govt’s ‘plan’ is now. May will string it out yet further and then, once she has wasted as much of the remaining time as she can possibly get away with, put it to MPs they have no choice but to vote for her deal in the desperate hope they will finally blink at the edge of the abyss.

    This is no doubt why May refused to spell out to the EU27 yesterday what changes, precisely, she wants them from them. Had she done so they could have outright rejected them allowing the matter to come to a head in the commons ASAP. But instead all the EU can do is to just repeat, albeit in a colder form of words, that they have a desire to help her but that she must first tell them what she wants them to do. Now May will go away and delay for a few weeks more.


    @” However, I don’t see how one can have a referendum now without some kind of No Deal option. ”

    But your own phraseology provides the reason why it can’t be on the ballot.-“some kind of “. Well which kind of ?

    You can vote for or against the WA +PD on an informed basis by reading the two documents.

    There you will see the precise terms of leaving as it will affect things like Citizens’ Rights,& Financial Obligations.
    You will see a Framework for the intended future relationship covering Trade,in Goods & Services Participation in EU Programmes, Foreign Policy, Security & Defence; Data Exchange etc etc etc

    Which document can voters read to make a judgement about a No Deal option? -or will there simply be no formal arrangements between EU & UK on all those matters & more. And if so what will the effects be on those voters of such a schism?

    “Some sort of ” No Deal Option cannot -by definition-be on the Ballot Paper.

  4. I watched the dismal unmoderated shouting match which used to be Daily Politics, yesterday.

    Owen Patterson was on. I have always liked him & listen to what he says. He does his research & doesn’t just spout patronising rhetoric like Rees Mogg & his chattering acolytes.

    He said-yet again-that the Irish Border can be managed technologically without upsetting the GFA. Of course on this dreadful forum , his point wasn’t discussed or examined , still less disputed or corrected. Such is the continuing paucity of informed debate on Brexit in our media.

    Having shouted at the Andrew Neil shaped hole in this programme yet again -i wondered , on reflection, why the Government Minister present didn’t say to Paterson something like -In which case-vote for the WA & get involved in the detailed negotiations flowing from the PD , helping us to ensure that the Backstop will clearly-because of what you claim-never be used.

  5. @ baldbloke
    “May will string it out yet further and then, once she has wasted as much of the remaining time as she can possibly get away with, put it to MPs they have no choice but to vote for her deal in the desperate hope they will finally blink at the edge of the abyss.”

    The problem is that this is Kamikaze tactics, but hoping the target moves before you hit. The ERG will quite happy to go up in a ball of flames though!

    I am coming to the view that the 117 Tories want no deal, and will sit on May like playground bullies until she either yields (she can’t) or we exit with no deal in 105 and a half days.

  6. Colin, Maybe even CB11 misses ole Brillo.

    I agree Politics Live too often ends up with cross talking and no effective moderation.

  7. Hmm personally, I’d ask the British people what they wanted to do.

    i. Mays deal.
    ii. No deal.
    iii. Remain in the EU
    iv. Leave the EU but join the EEA

    Can’t – for the life of me – see how anyone could reasonably object to that. The only arguments I’ve heard (from people who suspect they would lose the vote) are totally spurious: “Just imagine how would the people feel”.. what utter tosh!

  8. @david in france

    whilst these are the options – it is far too complex a question to put to a plebiscite – the only option that people understand enough to judge on is “remain in the EU”.
    How many people even know what “EEA” actually means?
    or what the “backstop” means?

    far more honest for parliament to revoke a50 and say “we are very sorry – it was a huge mistake having a referendum in the first place- delivering what people voted for is actually impossible – kick me”

  9. JIM JAM

    Jo Coburn was ok as Brillo’s assistant. On her own she is hopelessly ill equipped.

    I can only presume the BBC think this shouting match is what the viewers wanted !

  10. DIF

    The trouble with having four options is that it splits Leave three ways and Remain just once. Now as a Remain supporter I’d be delighted with that but I can’t help but think that Leave supporters would immediately cry ‘Foul’.

    Equanimity of result might be sorted by some form of PR, but the generally conservative UK electorate tend to view such systems as highly suspect and manipulated in mysterious Continental ways which are obviously anathema to a lot of Leavers.

  11. David in France,

    So you could end up with No Deal winning with 26% of the vote, even though the other 74% think that it would be a disaster?

  12. @ CHARLES – I can’t be bothered to go through the “default” and partisan issues again but LAB VI want a new ref so if Corbyn is running a democratic party then the “kitchen sink” he needs to through is:

    1/ Demand the Meaningful Vote is held next week
    2/ If not call a VoC

    X/ Have a new ref in his 2019 manifesto

    @ PTRP – :-) :-)

    @ COLIN – the WA is legally binding, the PD is not. SAM posted a good link on previous page about risk of CON being trapped for years still stuck discussing the future deal with EU.

    Brexiteers, almost by definition, do not trust the EC-EU. Patterson’s ideas have a fair dollop on “cake” and downplay the time issue but it is total fantasy to think CON Leave MPs (117+) are going to back the WA+PD. Corbyn won’t back it. Therefore it is dead. It always was dead.

    If the backstop is not intended to be used – why is it there!?

    Brexiteers believe it is there because it will be used. Hence they won’t support a WA that has it and nor will DUP. No one can see into the future to check if EC-EU give UK a “good deal” and backstop is never needed (but on past form Brexiteers aren’t going to sign over 39bn and keep their fingers crossed EC-EU “play nice” and quickly agree to give UK a deal that would encourage others to Leave the EU)

    May went to Brussels to get them to renegotiate. A very firm “non”.

    She must now hold the Meaningful Vote and once that is voted down by a huge margin she will need to resign.

    Anyway, good news that WTO implementation is stepping up. Better late then never!


    This is no doubt why May refused to spell out to the EU27 yesterday what changes, precisely, she wants them from them.

    But she did, very clearly. She specifically asked for a 12 month limit on the backstop, Germany and Austria backed the plan and the commission tentatively agreed to put into their post-meeting statement that they would explore the option. France and Ireland then poured cold water on the idea at the council meeting, so instead the statement reverted to the default position that the UK was being unclear about what it wanted from them, which is absolute nonsense (and which you’re swallowing). This is probably what May’s little bust up with Juncker was about this morning.

    Interestingly it starts to reveal the first signs of fractures on the EU side between the states who want a deal done and dusted and are fed up of the fuss, and the ones who want to play hardball.

  14. A good explanation of how the UK Government treated the “most powerful devolved parliament” in the world and why any constitutional assurances from the UK Government and Parliament are worthless:


  15. Are you doing anything for the next few days Reggieside. Parliament needs you.

  16. “She specifically asked for a 12 month limit on the backstop,…”

    Thus stopping it being a backstop.

  17. A long read but ivan Rogers’ recent lecture on the nine lessons of Brexit is worth the effort:


  18. @Jim Jam

    I didn’t know what IRV was but I looked it up! The answer is instant run-off voting (fact that James B knew this persuaded me that he knew what he was talking about and should give us a seminar on it all). Anyway as I understand it, it is a way of allocating votes in a situation where there are more than two options/candidates in an election There are different ways of doing this and so it is a family of system rather than just one. The basic idea is that one has to have a criterion for eliminating one candidate/option at a time and then reallocating their votes.

    Anyway the main effect of all this was to persuade me that you (and Colin with whom I do not normally agree) were right and that we needed a straight fight between ‘May deal and Remain’. The advantages of this are:

    a) It is a clear choice with none of the complexities of a three choice referendum

    b) it meets Colin’s criterion of feasible options. We could do either

    c) it meets your criterion – we do not end up with an immediate and massively damaging no deal disaster, Personally I think that May deal is debilitating in the long run and will lead to a bad trade deal but that is an argument that has to be won

    d) Contrary to what I thought, and what is generally said it will not be massively divisive. The country does not want no deal (65-35). I guess most dealers could live reluctantly with remain and most remainers could live reluctantly with the deal. Some no dealers are almost congenitally angry and will be so under an scenario. Others, like the good people of Blyth, are angry with good reason and their concerns have to be urgently addressed preferably by a Labour government. They believe in No Deal, but for the sake of the rest of the country and in the long run themselves they can’t have it. Sadly for them they are in a minority, but they are an independent and resilient lot and need the infrastructure and support to make their region the success it deservers,

    e) if the result is a deal, it will have a mandate which at the moment it most definitely does not, So that too will be less divisive.

    f) It seems to me that Labour could achieve this by agreeing to vote for May’s deal with the proviso that it is not put into effect unless it is put to the country with the option of remain which would be implemented if that was the decision.

    To achieve this people have to give up the fantasies that a) we can somehow have remain without a further referendum b) Norway/Canada ++ are practical options = we might get something like them under the deal but its doubtful, they are no better than remain and they fail Colin’s criteion c) Labour can negotiate a substantially better deal – it can’t d) staying in the EU will stop us nationalising things etc – given the number of nationalised railways, postal systems etc there are in the EU I can’t see how that is possible e) it is to the advantage of Labour to give no help to the conservatives so that they get stuck with the resulting mess. In my view a lot of people will be so angry with Labour that they will join the liberals or the greens.

    Apologies for long post, I had a Damascene conversion worthy of the bewildering shifts of the Trevors, so was anxious to work out its implications!

  19. @jim jam
    “Charles – do you understand what IRV is, I don’t?”

    IRV (instant run-off voting) is just another name for AV.

    ” we had a referendum on AV and it was decisively rejected, so three-way FPTP would be the people’s choice”

    I’m not sure that really follows, supplementary vote (first/second pref only – equivalent to AV for 3 options) is used for london & county/metro mayors and police commissioners. NI uses STV for stormont and scotland uses STV for locals so preferential systems are in use in most of the UK in some form or other. I don’t think the rejection for westminster rules out a type voting system for use elsewhere for all time.


    Yes I’m aware there are issues (hence my preference for leadership in place of referendum) but I think if it’s going to be anything that involves 3 options then it probably has to be AV (framed as first/second pref SV if it makes people happier)

    The reason I think two stage doesn’t work so well is effectively one of the three options has been pre-selected to get a free pass to the final round, the effect of this depends on the voting preferences but forcing the elimination in this manner can make a difference to the final outcome as you discuss so I think it’s open to much argument.

    And yes condorcet is unheard of outside of private organisations as far as I’m aware. Partly because it can produce condorcet paradoxes (where voters favour the options in a circular manner and there is no clear winner!)

    That said, the way the polls are going this may be even more moot than I’d hope, as I noted previously, even in the yougov MRP sample, remain just about edged both options (in the national vote, not the constituency breakdown which isn’t really relevant for a national ref), in it’s smaller more regular polling the leads are getting to the point now that it must be getting a little uncomfortable for MPs, are they really going to want to deliver something so significant if its support is in the low 40s, or less? Particularly given the demographics of that support in terms of long term choices.

    (for those with a maths/game theory geeky interest, wikipedia has a fair amount on voting systems and plenty of links to sources/references on them – there’s some truly obscure ones around!)


    “Absolutely no way a second referendum solves anything at all. It will just entrench current positions.”

    Probably, but I’m not seeing any of the alternatives being better, e.g.:

    Deal passed: the compromise no one likes, we’d then be stuck in a minimum 2 years negotiations (possibly 4 or more) throughout which arguments about how close we want to be to the EU will continue. Wouldn’t actually address many of the underlying problems generating the leave vote (the dissatisfied with life part, no the genuine dislike EU part)

    ‘No Deal’: Not even sure where to start with this. For those without personal gains to be had (e.g. JRM & co), this is going to be unpleasant at best. Pursuing the kind of economic ultra-liberalisation policies such proponents favour is not only going to not address underlying problems, it will exacerbate them. I cannot see the lexit approach working either as manufacturing etc will be shot. Obviously if you’re an expert denier this is all rubbish but most MPs fortunately do not seem to be quite that daft.

    Revoke a50 and remain with no consultation: Actually I do think this is better, I just don’t think anyone in charge has the guts to do this.

    Even the latter in itself would obviously not address the general dissatisfaction issue which is my main concern with this whole mess is that, whatever the outcome, this particular elephant in the room seems to have been forgotten again.

    There also seems to be a rather naive perception in areas that once the UK technically ‘leaves’, i.e. 29th March and/or date set in WA, that it’ll be done and dusted and we can all move on.

  20. “fact that James B knew this persuaded me that he knew what he was talking about and should give us a seminar on it all”

    I really shouldn’t! The topic, (like most!) is gargantuan, I’ve only scratched the surface having fallen down a few wikiholes…

  21. @ Garj

    “She specifically asked for a 12 month limit on the backstop, Germany and Austria backed the plan and the commission tentatively agreed to put into their post-meeting statement that they would explore the option. France and Ireland then poured cold water on the idea at the council meeting, so instead the statement reverted to the default position that the UK was being unclear about what it wanted from them, which is absolute nonsense (and which you’re swallowing). This is probably what May’s little bust up with Juncker was about this morning.”

    You appear to have a very detailed account of events are you able to supply the source? I would be very grateful to read it.


  22. Join the EEA can’t be on a ballot paper as it looks very likely that the EEA would say no.

  23. “Join the EEA can’t be on a ballot paper as it looks very likely that the EEA would say no.”

    Well norway has not looked keen, iceland has seemed far more favourable though. regardless that’s more about the EFTA, not the EEA. I was under the impression from a while back that there were legal opinions floating around that withdrawing from the EEA would actually be a separate act from that of withdrawing from the EU so they may not have a choice. It’d be possible to still be in the EEA+CU without necessarily rejoining the EFTA.

    It’s a horribly unsatisfactory option though, what’s the point?

  24. @Hireton

    No surprise there. Scots Tories fear the Scottish Parliament having any form of power. Not sure why, if their Better Together arguments hold true.

  25. @ Colin

    See my post to Jim Jam. Am I right in thinking that I am in substantial agreement with you?


    Thus stopping it being a backstop.

    Well, yes, but it remains the major obstacle to the deal being passed. The Irish government have tied their colours to that particular mast, for obvious reasons, but plenty of people over there recognise that it’s a big political gamble and risks the no deal outcome which would harm Eire even more than it would harm the UK. A number of EU leaders are evidently regretting its inclusion in the WA as they could have wrapped the deal up a year ago rather than risk the whole thing unravelling, others such as Macron are keen on acting tough and not giving any ground at all, but they’re sticking together for Christmas at the very least.


    The Times, the Guardian, etc etc. It was reported on last night.

  27. @JamesB “In the country of the blind the one-eyed man is king’

    That said, I agree with you leadership is better than referenda, but in the current situation we have to live with what we can get. And I have now talked myself into thinking that leave no deal does not have to be on the ballot paper. Hence I am less in need of a seminar.

  28. @Garj

    thanks for that can’t get behind Times paywall but will read Guardian report.

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