The Times have a new YouGov poll this morning, carried out after Theresa May’s Brexit speech. Overall, it looks as if the PM has passed her first Brexit test – a majority of the public support the sort of Brexit she is seeking to achieve. Whether they support the sort of Brexit she actually manages to get other EU countries to agree to once negotiations are complete is, of course, a different matter.

YouGov asked respondents if they agreed with some of the key negotiation points May set out: many of these were uncontroversial (an overwhelming majority of people wanted UK control of immigration, an open border with Ireland, the rights of existing immigrations to be protected and continued co-operation on security). Most of these are obvious though – the two more controversial points were the confirmation that Britain would leave the single market and the customs union. A majority of people supported both, but it was split very much among pro-EU and anti-EU lines: a huge majority of Leave voters thought it was the right thing to do, but Remain voters tended to think it was wrong to leave the single market and were split over the customs union.

Looking at a list of specific measures is not necessarily a good way of measuring support for May’s stance anyway. Most of us won’t tot up the individual details, people tend to judge the overall package. Asked about May’s Brexit plan as a whole, there was a clear thumbs up. 55% think it would be good for Britain; only 19% think it would be bad. 62% think it would respect the referendum result and by 53% to 26% people say that they would be happy with the outcome.

While people like what May is seeking, that doesn’t mean they think it is actually achievable. While the public do express confidence in May’s negotiating ability (by 47% to 38%), only 20% of people think that other EU countries will agree to what she wants. Only time will tell how the public react to whatever EU deal May actually manages to get.

The poll also asked voting intention. Topline figures were CON 42%, LAB 25%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 12%, putting the Tories back up to a seventeen point lead. As ever it is only one poll, so don’t read too much into that huge lead: it may be that May setting out a clearer route forward for Brexit (and the good press she got yesterday) has given the Tories a boost… or it may just be normal random variation. Full tabs are here

584 Responses to “YouGov polling on Theresa May’s Brexit speech”

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  1. Jasper22,
    “Being reported this morning that some Labour front benchers are thinking of voting against Article 50 if HMG loses at the Supreme Court…

    Will they never learn?”

    The libs had a clear win-win outcome in adopting a pro remain policy including voting against Leave. If you are on a low base, then appealing to a big block every other party is ignoring is a brilliant idea. Every point Labour drop, the closer they come to this same logical position. Supporting Brexit is fast becoming a no win position for them, the only chance of political benefit is from becoming pro Remain. There would seem to be twice as many remain supporters in the country as labour supporters.

  2. Re Lib Dems.
    As a Labour member living close to Richmond (and having campaigned there knowing it was futile) I really think there is a sizeable issue for both Tory and Labour.
    Richmond is a Tory constituency (albeit with a strong LD tradition) and Goldsmith was campaigning as a Tory in all but name and backed by their machine all but technically. He had been a popular MP, increased his majority in 2015, and had resigned on a genuine point of principle. But he was marmalised and the sole reason for that could be Brexit.
    And that was at a time when Remainers were still hopeful that the Tories would go for a soft Brexit model which (in their opinion) would be less harmful.
    Other Tory and marginal seats hereabouts were heavily remain and I could easily imagine a repeat of Richmond, with both soft Tory and soft Labour voters who are hard remainers switching. I’m a hard Labour voter, but had I been a voter in Richmond I would have voted LD, as many of our members did.

  3. Labour Brexit chaos:

    I disagree with you Danny. If Labour takes a pro-Remain position they could see a repeat of what happened in Scotland to them outside of Greater London.

    Plus the idea that hard core remainers who are Tories are going to vote for Corbyn is for the birds. The Lib Dems maybe.

    This equivocation on Brexit by Labour is madness. The only sensible policy is back Brexit and then blame the government for screwing up the negotiations.

    Still it does mean I’ll get to stock up on popcorn.

  4. Alec,
    “24 hours on, and just thinking through the choreography of the UK’s negotiating stance, and further uneasy thoughts keep coming to the surface. ”

    Just imagine how it must be to be May!

    Blue Bob,
    “If she gets it all she will appear the hero & if she does not, the public will just blame the EU.”

    Certainly that is the plan. Whether it will work is another matter. The polling results can equally be interpreted as the public welcoming her ambition and the sunny future she has promised, but being very cynical at the likelihood she can deliver.

  5. Sea Change,
    ” the idea that hard core remainers who are Tories are going to vote for Corbyn is for the birds. The Lib Dems maybe.”

    In these times of falling party support (28% conservative, 19% labour, as the actual percentages supporting these parties rather than the predicted vote share at an election) it is unclear how many of these are hard core party supporters at all.

  6. PETE B

    “that French cheese might get a bit more expensive”

    For food, the converse is more likely. The UK is a net food importer. The EU still follows the 1957 bargain – Keep French farmers happy and German manufacturers happy. Farm tariffs, trade weighted, still average well over 20%, and reach ridiculous levels for products important to French farmers (Over 100% for most processed sugar, as I was told by Nicaraguans on my recent holiday) Even when the EU doesn’t produce the goods, they have massive tariffs on the processed form of the good (low on raw coffee beans, 140% on packs of roasted beans.)

    Today, wine from Chile, South Africa or Australia is as good as wine from France, Italy or Spain. When the price of the former drops, sales will increase, to the detriment of the latter.

  7. I strongly disagree with the assumption of so many political anoraks that Brexit is likely to determine how many people will vote at the next election. The issue is highly technical ,and I very much get the impression that the vast majority of people are sick to death of it and wish to move on. Even if an election were to be held in the next few months I believe that attention would turn to other issues – never mind 2020. As for Richmond , if this was such a burning issue pre -occupying that electorate why did fewer than 54% bother to vote? I suspect that Goldsmith’s defeat had a lot to do with the bad smell left by his London Mayoral bid and the opportunity presented to Labour voters to extract revenge via tactical votes – as well as to reducie the Tory overall majority. Nevertheless nearly half the electorate stayed at home – very different to the Wellingborough by election in December 1969 when turnout was above 70%.

  8. @Danny –

    Plenty of moderate Labour voters are put off by Corbyn and swing voters are hardly flocking to him. Do you really think center right, right and hard right Tories are going to vote Labour? Don’t bogart that joint now…

  9. @Andrew111

    Thanks for the new graphs, but I think you have swapped the UKIP and LIB DEM % in the latest poll

    You are correct!

    Good spot, thank you.

  10. WYRM Re:-
    ‘ Today, wine from Chile, South Africa or Australia is as good as wine from France, Italy or Spain’

    Do you have polling evidence to back up this controversial assertion?

    Your point is well made and I think the old tradition pre Kinnock of anti-EU sentiment on the left (JC when younger for example) was antipathy to the ‘Capitalist Club’ of rich Western European Nations treating developing nations unfairly.

  11. OLDNAT

    @”stop being silly.”

    Don’t be such an old curmudgeon , and anyway-why should I be the only one here required to do that?

  12. WYRM

    @” Even when the EU doesn’t produce the goods, they have massive tariffs on the processed form of the good (low on raw coffee beans, 140% on packs of roasted beans.)”

    Yes this barrier is particularly cynical-it stops developing country farmers adding value & moving up the production chain-keeps them as raw material suppliers only to the Internal Market of the EU.

  13. Re Labour’s selection forthe Copeland By-election, Gill Troughton, everything I have read about her suggests she is a moderate. She supported Owen Smith in the leadership election against Corbyn. She was not momentum, Unite or the Corbyn factors choice for the election (that wasRachel Holliday)but her selection is described by the Conservative Party as a “a victory for the hard left”

    Would have thought if this is the line of attack on her it will not succeed. The ovious one would be to attack Corbyn on his anti-nuclear stance and hope it plays in a Nuclear industry constituency.

  14. It’s worth two minutes of anyone’s time to watch this remarkable tribute to Martin McGuinness from Ian Paisley Jr:

    It’s rare indeed to watch such an obviously sincere, heartfelt and hope-inspiring message from a current politician. On the basis just of this clip, one can but hope that he’ll take over the leadership of the DUP, and take the partnership government on to the next stage.

    However, I have no real understanding of the dynamics of NI , so if you feel I’ve been taken in and he’s really the devil incarnate, fire away!

  15. Graham,
    Even if only 10% of voters switch their votes on Brexit, that is a lot of Labour voters.. and in RP you could just as well argue that many voters who either did not have a candidate (UKIP, Greens and loyal Tories) chose to abstain..

    But the big problem for Labour is that Brexit is seen as the biggest issue facing the country and Labour are see as divided and confused with no fixed policy on it. As that Torygraph article linked by Seachange shows, Corbyn is seen as a weak leader too. And Labour appears divided on almost everything except the NHS (and even there May is more trusted than Corbyn!) Those factors are likely to lose them votes in a GE campaign

  16. labour is much more concerned about whether Corbyn should be their leader, and if not who/what faction should replace him, than about Brexit. In may ways, this is not different to the conservatives position. Corbyn too is interested in actually winning an election, but I agree with those here who feel he believes he first has to win his party, and national elections or Brexit are of secondary importance.

    In so far as labour can draw its attention to brexit, the question has to be which side strategically offers more benefit. There has been a universal agreement by all politicians that sitting on the fence is the best place to be. May has sidled a little more one way this week, and labour is therfore under more pressure to choose a side also. If they do not, they risk losing their power of choice by default.

    The only way to be politically distinct from the tory party is to come out for soft Brexit, or even none. Not being distinct means that brexit politically becomes a non issue, or worse threatens to sideline whichever party is prevaricating the most. Being tory light on Brexit will not benefit labour. Being neutral is running out of steam. Being soft Brexit is a more high risk strategy in terms of payoff or derision depending on how well May does, but if an opposition does not oppose, then there is no reason to be interested in it.

  17. Signs that the economy was slowing at the back end of the year in the latest from the ONS.

    “Retail sales suffered their biggest monthly fall since April 2012 last month, with official figures also charting a leap in prices compared to December a year earlier.

    The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported a 1.9% decline in sales volumes on November – the month containing the Black Friday bonanza.

    The picture was more positive on an annual basis with growth of 4.3% on December 2015 but both figures were well below the expectations of economists.

    The ONS said the performance over the final three months of the year was strong enough to add 0.1% to fourth quarter economic growth – with the first estimate on how UK PLC performed as a whole due next week.

    It noted a particular struggle for non-food retailers in December – charting a 0.9% hike in retail prices last month compared to December 2015 as stores came under pressure to pass on rising costs.”

  18. WYRM

    I agree with your post and expect Food prices to fall once we have left the restrictions of being in the EU.

  19. TOH,

    “I agree with your post and expect Food prices to fall once we have left the restrictions of being in the EU.”

    And along with it the incomes and numbers of UK farmers.
    Those EU external tariffs also protect our producers too.

    Take them away and UK grain has to compete head to head with the US, Ukraine, and Argentina.

    Still you can always be patriotic and buy British at higher prices.



    “So I see (from YouGov) that the voters believe, decisively, that Brexit will:
    – Make us worse off economically
    – reduce our influence in the world
    – be bad for jobs
    – be bad for pensions
    – make little difference to the NHS
    Still, at least they think it will reduce immigration.”
    “Sobering innit. Still, this is what one might expect if one looks at the issue polling, which had immigration rising to the top of all concerns, above the economy, unemployment, NHS… Because peeps think immigration affects all these things and more. Housing, school places, hedges, all that.”
    Despite all the caveats above, the voters in the YouGov poll seem to clearly support May’s approach to negotiations even though they don’t think she will achieve all aims. This seems to be something you don’t understand. I think that’s because the leave vote was as much about regaining sovereignty as it was about controlling immigration. If you accept that, then it all makes sense, the voters accept that leaving fully will have an initial adverse effect on the economy but are prepared to put up with that to leave the EU. May has appealed to the people’s patriotism and the voters seem to be responding. If the negotiations go badly I agree with those who have said that they do not think this will necessary effect on voting support for the government. I think the voters will blame the EU negotiators and harden anti EU feeling.

    Peter Cairns SNP

    As usual we don’t agree. I hear what you say and still expect food prices overall to fall once we have left the EU. We will see once we have.

  21. Peter Cairns SNP

    Still you can always be patriotic and buy British at higher prices.

    I have always done that if the alternative is sourced from somewhere I dislike for any reason. I can afford to.

  22. Correction

    ………………..will necessary have an effect on voting support…….

    Thinking faster than I can type.

  23. @TOH

    The YouGov question was so biased and leading – it’s more a propaganda question than a question that gives any insight. Of course if May gets everything she wants on her terms it is likely to be good for Britain.

    Although , I still think losing freedom of movement is too high a price.

  24. It will be interesting to see what the Supreme Court comes up with on Tuesday next. Having read and digested much that has been written about the submissions I would not be surprised if the Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Appear Court. The case to do that seems quite strong to me but i’m not a lawyer so we shall see. The judgement will interesting whichever way it goes.

  25. COUPER2802

    The questions related exactly to her proposals so in a sense are leading. All I’m saying is that I think she has positioned herself and the government very well going forward.

  26. Labour should differentiate themselves by taking a half-way house approach: back only a ‘soft’ Brexit, not May’s plan. Not oppose Brexit completely, but back this compromise approach.

  27. One point of note on food, farming and Brexit. Upland farmers in particular are worried about the impacts on lamb exports. There are confirmed reports that New Zealand lamb producers, who have an agreement of a fixed amount of tariff free exports to the EU, are asking Brussells to allow them to maintain this tariff free volume after Brexit. They appear to be getting a sympathetic hearing.

    This is significant, as at present, most of the NZ lamb comes into the UK, while most UK exports go to the EU. For the EU, the arrangement proposed by NZ is attractive in the sense that it doesn’t increase the overall competition to EU27 farmers, as in effect tariff free UK exports are replaced by tariff free NZ imports, keeping prices to consumers down. If tariffs are applied to UK exports, this would actually benefit EU27 producers overall.
    The attraction to NZ is obvious, as is the negative impact to the UK.

    This is but one very small part of the Brexit equation, but will be significant in many farming communities. It also serves as a reminder to those who think optimistically about the early stage discussions between the UK and global trade partners, that there are similar (but much more detailed) negotiations already going on between these global ‘partners’ and the EU27, in order to try and jump in and take away part of the UK’s existing trade advantage with the EU.

    I think one of the problems that dogs many pro Brexit thinkers is that they tend to look at fututre developments as things the UK can initiate and benefit from, whereas in fact, as with the Corporation Tax issue I posted on yesterday, as fast as we negotiate some kind of new advantage, there will be reactions and changes elsewhere by others to blunt our gains and secure additional gains for others.

    We are running the wrong way on an elevator, and while we are only just beginning to finish our warm up exercises, others have been going hard at this for some months already.

  28. I have just written to the labour Party cancelling my membership and asking them to cease considering me as a supporter. I’m a remainer. I feel just as betrayed over Europe as I did over the Iraq war. That time I came back after Blair left. This time I won’t. My support will go to the Lib Dems. I can’t help feeling that if I feel so strongly, then there are potentially millions of other remainers who feel the same way, and that this has to work to the benefit of the Lib Dems who are articulating a clear pro-European message. Polls aren’t really showing it yet, but it’s early days.

  29. Tristram Hunt and Jaimie Reed have resigned their seats today . Labour has confirmed that both by elections are to take place on 23rd February.

  30. @Patrickbrian

    So you have decided to transfer your support to the Tories’ little helpers!

  31. If many voters follow PatrickBrian’s lead, is it beyond the bounds of possibility that the Libdems could be the second largest party in 2020? It seems ludicrous, but ludicrous things keep happening lately!

  32. Worth noting perhaps that while most of the arguments about Brexit here and elsewhere are about economics, the real passion may be aroused by social matters. I acknowledge though don’t pretend to understand the strong feelings against immigration in some parts of England, the idea that people living here are being disadvantaged in different ways by ‘foreigners’ being free to come here. But my own passion is based on the opposite: that my children will not be free, as I was , to fall in love with someone from another European country (as is quite likely) and live with them here or wherever they choose without a mass of mainly incoherent bureaucratic restrictions. I also think that Brexit is going to be a car crash economically, but the social issues are more important to me and my family. And mean that we will never change our minds.

  33. @Graham
    basically, yes!

  34. The Other Howard

    Re the Supreme Court. I disagree.

    This should never have gone to the unelected judges. It is an affront to the people and is being driven by those who want to ignore the will of the British people.

    The judges need to think carefully. They should remember the people have spoken.

  35. Good afternoon all from a sunny and little breezy central London.

    At 4pm GMT today we will see the beginning of the end of the liberal elite. The New World Order has had its day, the illuminati will be crushed.

    The liberal elite sought regime change in Syria much to the annoyance of a furious Russian president . In turn Putin went for regime change in the USA.

    Welcome to the new Putin Trump World Order or collectively known as “PuTrump”

    Anyway moving on…..I watched Question Time last night and Andrew Neils This Week (#sadmanonatrain) and it’s evident from the discussions on both programs Labour are in real trouble over Brexit. That’s the impression I got from Labour.

  36. GRAHAM
    “So you have decided to transfer your support to the Tories’ little helpers!”

    Well some might see the Lib/Dems in this light (Tories little helpers) but to most students they will see the Lib/Dems as Judas in disguise when they sold them out on tuition fees.

    I really do think people are over estimating the Lib/Dems fortunes.Once article 50 has been at long last triggered and parliament accepts the will of the people, then the Lib/Dems pro EU moaning will become irrelevant. People will turn back to voting on bread and butter issues in 2020.

  37. GRAHAM
    “So you have decided to transfer your support to the Tories’ little helpers!”
    Well some might see the Lib/Dems in this light (Tories little helpers) but to most students they will see the Lib/Dems as Jud#s in disguise when they sold them out on tuition fees.

    I really do think people are over estimating the Lib/Dems fortunes.Once article 50 has been at long last triggered and parliament accepts the will of the people, then the Lib/Dems pro EU moans will become irrelevant. People will turn back to voting on bread and butter issues in 2020

  38. @alec

    Indeed. I have commented before the referendum and afterwards that the setting of WTO schedules for the UK will be complicated and difficult especially where tariff quotas are involved as with NZ lamb. It also exposes the naivety of those who think the “empire” or the “commonwealth”‘are going “mother country”. They will act in their own interests as they should.

    The UK agricultural.and food sector could be badly hit by a move to CET terms and that will be especially difficult.for Scotland.

  39. @PatrickBrain

    Your comments on social issues match my feelings..Brexit is not about keeping the foreigners out but keeping us in :-)

  40. AC

    I very much agree with that – though Labour needs to keep trotting out the ‘Tories’ little helpers’ line quite regularly lest people forget!

  41. Most folk seems to have missed an outcome of the JMC yesterday. The Scottish negotiator Mike Russell confirmed that the Scottish Government proposal would be considered. This seemed to flit under the radar.

    But the proposal is probably the one way of certainly keeping the UK together and might well solve the NI problem as well. Nicola Sturgeon has said she will not call an indyref during the Brexit period if the proposal is excepted. I assume she is banking on it being rejected or perhaps she genuinely sees the proposal as a good solution for both sides. But, if accepted it could genuinely take independence of the table for a generation.

    In short Scotland along with rUK will leave the EU. Scotland will remain in EEA as an associate member of EFTA sponsored by the UK. Scotland would be out of the CU. Scotland would not be subject to ECJ but would have to abide by EFTA EEA rules. EFTA does not cover agriculture and fishing so the tariffs would depend on what the UK government can negotiate. Necessary powers to enable Scotland to operate under this model will be transferred from WM to Holyrood.

    If the UK government agrees they will probably be able to persuade the EU and Scotland is already working on the EFTA countries with Salmond in Norway to discuss this recently.

    This solution has advantages on both sides and would command very wide support in Scotland, with only the die hard unionists and nationalists on either side against.

    T May has to decide does she want an indyref2 showdown which if she wins Scotland would have given her a mandate for Brexit and UK would fundamentally change with WM supreme but the downside is she might lose


    this compromise which would keep the UK together but WM would lose much of its power.

  42. Hireton

    The Commonwealth is looking to do trade deals with us as soon as we escape the EU.

    With the Commonwealth, we know we’re dealing with like minded people who accept HM as their Head.

    The continentals, on the other hand, were never really on the same page as us.

    We wish them all the best, and all that, but we’re better off on the other side of the street.

  43. @Graham

    ‘Tory’s little helpers’ and ‘tuition fee betrayers’ are strong memes, but no more effective and no more nuanced than Labour ‘led by an incompetent’ or ‘at the wheel for the great crash’, or equally Tory ‘nasty party’ or ‘trying to shut the NHS’.

    Each of these memes has cost the relevant party one or more elections in terms of major electoral underperformance.

    The question is, which meme are the most voters willing to let go of or ignore at the next election?

    It seems to me that the Tory’s ‘nasty party’ and LibDems ‘tuition fee betrayers’ are currently trumped by Labour’s ‘incompetent leader’ in voters’ minds….of course this may change, but it may not.s in exceptional circumstances, or 48 hours in ordinary circumstances.

  44. Jasper
    “With the Commonwealth, we know we’re dealing with like minded people who accept HM as their Head.
    The continentals, on the other hand, were never really on the same page as us.”
    Lol! Half my family are ‘continentals’. Which millenium are you in?

  45. @ Allan Christie

    I agree with you totally regarding the Lib/Dems .I know several former Lib / Dem voters including myself who will never vote them again as they are disgusted with the way they refuse to accept the Referendum result.Yes the Lib / Dems may gain some votes from the Remainers ,but they will also lose votes by those who believe the referendum result should be respected.

  46. To be accurate, I should say that the meme ‘led by an incompetent’ has not YET cost Labour an election, but looks as though it might do so in the future…

  47. @PatrickBrian
    @Tim N

    What is wrong with the Greens, they are pro-EU and don’t have the LibDems baggage?

  48. Looking again at the latest YouGov voting figures, they really are appalling for Labour. Using Election Calculus the Cons would have a majority of 110 on present boundaries or 124 on new boundaries.
    Looking at the Brexit questions I think the following are very telling.
    Regardless of whether you think it would be good or bad for Britain, do you think this outcome would or would not respect the result of the referendum
    Would 52%
    Would not 13%
    Don’t know 25%
    And would you personally be happy or unhappy with this outcome?
    Happy 53%
    Unhappy26 %
    Don’t Know 21%

  49. @jasper22

    As ever, your comments are comedy gold, keep them coming.

    You are, of course, wrong to say that Commonwealth countries accept Elizabeth Windsor as Head of State. A few do (mainly the former dominions), most don’t, for example, India, Malaysia, South Africa and so on. And two of them are even European and members of the EU ( how very dare they).

    Secondly, you have ignored @alec’s post which dealt with the fact that New Zealand are quite rightly pursuing their own commercial interests by seeking to maintain the current duty free tariff quota with the EU post Brexit.

    Thirdly, some countries which happen to be members of the Commonwealth will of course want to do trade deals with the UK because it will be in their interest to do so. Whether any ensuing trade deals are good for the UK remains to be seen.


    Why be rude to jasper22. he has as much right as you do to post here. Just say you disagree and why.

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