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The political backcloth to current events is that the majority of those who have a view think Brexit is wrong

August 9th, 2019

Cummings/Johnson don’t have public opinion on their side

There was a time when the Brexit tracker in every new Times/YouGov poll would get reported and discussed with people trying to read something into the changes week on week. That’s now long gone. Public opinion as measured by this tracker has remained pretty constant for “wrong” with over the past year the lead being mostly in a range of 6-11 points.

Clearly those answering that Brexit was wrong have a very wide range of views about what should happen next. They go, I guess, from the hardline revoke now to supporters of the People’s Votes right through to those who think that they’re entirely sick of it all and just want the government to get on with getting the UK out of the EU.

Of course you can ask all sorts of different questions but the core belief element found in the tracker remains solid.

The fact remains that the notion of Brexit itself is not supported by the majority something you would never guess by the rhetoric of either Theresa May or now BJohnson.

This is why, I would suggest, it would be politically dangerous for the new prime minister to go to the country on the basis of a no deal Brexit with all that entails. That Johnson has started his term of PM in negative leader ratings territory could all be an indication of the overall view on Brexit.

To expect the public to deal with the sacrifices of a No Deal in this context would lead, possibly, to a general election outcome that would surprise everyone.

A big reason why Labour did surprisingly well at the 2017 General Election was that a significant number of Remain voters thought that the best way they could impede Brexit on that day was by supporting Corbyn’s party even though they disliked it. This was in spite of the fact that Labour manifesto was in favour.

Mike Smithson