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Brexit: The closer we get, the more polls show Britain wants to Remain



brexit cliff edge.JPG
getting close to the edge.

REUTERS/Vladimir Pushkarev/Russian Centre of Arctic

  • YouGov polls show a straight-line decline in
    support among British for leaving the EU in 2019.
  • Support for a second referendum on the terms of the
    deal is rising.
  • A NatCen “poll of polls” puts Remain at 52% vs Leave at
  • The government must get its Brexit deal approved
    in parliament by January 21, 2019.
  • If it cannot get that vote, May’s government could
  • Then, chaos ensues.

LONDON — This chart says it all: The closer we get to the
Brexit deadline in March 2019, the more British people tell
pollsters they think their decision to leave the European Union
was wrong.

The data for the chart is based on YouGov polling, and each bar
represents the average of polls taken within that month. The
results show an almost straight line decline in support for
Brexit since 2016.

brexitPantheon Macroeconomics

Separately, the
National Centre for Social Research published a “poll of
summarising results of its last six surveys, and it
also found a majority favouring Remain, 52% to 48%. The NatCen
poll was headed by veteran polling expert
John Curtice, who says
, “even if a second referendum does not
take place, it might be thought important to ask whether or not,
as the Brexit process comes to a conclusion, there is still a
majority in favour of leaving the EU. After all, the answer to
that question might be thought central to any evaluation of the
success or otherwise of the EU referendum as a way of deciding
what Britain’s relationship with the EU should be.”

The shift away from Leave toward Remain has occurred because of a
slight weakening among Leave supporters who regret their vote,
and from people who failed to vote in the 2016 referendum
breaking largely in favour of Remain,
Curtice believes

The country is evenly split on a second referendum

At the same time, support for a second referendum on the terms of
the Brexit deal is rising.

YouGov poll on whether there should be a second
referendum on the terms of Britain’s exit from the EU

  • There should be a second referendum: 40%
  • There should not be a second referendum: 41%

  • Source data

BrexitPantheon Macroeconomics /

The data was collated by Pantheon Macroeconomics analyst Samuel
Tombs, who believes it represents the reality that is pushing
Theresa May toward a soft Brexit, regardless of her tough
rhetoric and her statement in August that a no-deal Brexit
be the end of the world

Tombs’ theory is that May’s current position — insisting on a
deal she formulated at Chequers that the EU has already
rejected — will forestall a rebellion of hard-Brexit MPs in
her own party who have the power to bring her down. Eventually,
Tombs believes, May will be forced to accept a soft Brexit
keeping the UK close to the EU. It is the only type of deal she
can get through parliament, which has a pro-Remain majority of

January 21, 2019 is the real deadline for Brexit

The alternative would be for May to present a hard-Brexit deal to
the House of Commons, where it would be voted down, a scenario
that could trigger a coup against her from her own party, a
general election, or maybe even a second referendum. The
Conservatives know they might lose either of those votes. As
these charts show, the country becomes less enthusiastic about
Brexit as time goes by.

Ironically, they cannot risk moving against her and she cannot
risk moving toward them. 

That all changes
on January 21, 2019, according to the European Union
(Withdrawal) Act of 2018
. If May has not persuaded the House
to adopt a deal with the EU by that date, the act requires the
prime minister to make a statement informing parliament of what
the government intends to do.

Drama will ensue, Tombs told clients in a note he sent them on
September 24:

“If by January 21 the government has not obtained a deal, it must
set out its next steps to parliament. While MPs’ debate and vote
will be held in non-binding ‘neutral terms’, it will catalyse
opposition. The vast majority of MPs do not want a cliff-edge
departure, so the government likely would suffer a no-confidence
vote or would find it impossible to stop a private members’ bill
legislating for a second referendum.”

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