In calling her snap election, the PM said: "The country is coming together but Westminster is not." But no election can change the fact that the country remains split down the middle on Brexitby Martin Boon / May 17, 2017 / Leave a comment
The Brexit election?
It’s the biggest question, but only for half the country
The Conservatives want to make this a one-issue Brexit election, whereas Labour seems to want to make it about every issue other than that. The voters are somewhere between the two. More people name Brexit than any other issue as the most important consideration in casting their vote—32 per cent of those expressing a preference, compared with just 20 per cent for the NHS and 13 per cent for the often-dominant question of jobs, prices and wages. Add in the 14 per cent who give priority to the closely-connected question of immigration, then almost half of respondents give priority to the broad Brexit agenda. But that still leaves roughly half who give more weight to other things.
One nation, one big thing to worry about:
Brits of different persuasions give Brexit similar priority
On both sides of the referendum divide, the conviction that Brexit is the most pressing question is pretty uniform. Among Leavers, it gets top rating from 32 per cent, compared to 35 per cent among Remainers. Among Liberal Democrats 49 per cent rate Brexit as the biggest factor in casting their vote, only slightly more than the 42 per cent of Conservatives who say the same thing. Only among Labour supporters is there less of a Brexit fixation—only 23 per cent of them afford Brexit top priority.
One shared problem, but only divisive solutions: A Brexit balancing act will intensify Britain’s divisions
Voters as a whole are fairly evenly split on the big Brexit policy dilemma—55 per cent would put trade and the economy first even if that pushes up immigration, against 45 per cent who would be prepared to see the economy take a hit for the sake of controlling the borders. But the balance is entirely different among the political tribes. Just over 70 per cent of Labour voters give the economy priority, whereas 59 per cent of Tories put immigration first. The referendum split is even starker: 83 per cent of Remainers put the economy first, compared with 73 per cent of Leavers who prioritise immigration. Among the Lib Dems and Ukip the divide is even sharper again.