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Brexit: Survey shows leave and remain still evenly split five years after vote to leave EU

Leave voters in Kent would still be likely to back Brexit if another referendum was held, based on a poll testing the public mood on leaving the EU.

But the end result in the county could look slightly different.

The poll says 82% of those across the UK who voted to quit the EU five years ago would vote the same way as they did back in 2016.

A comprehensive survey on the historic decision to leave the EU suggests that the nation remains split on its views.

The poll was conducted by whatukthinks.org and the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen).

If the results of the opinion poll are applied to Kent and Medway, it suggests the public mood remains fairly firmly in the ‘leave’ camp.

All but one of Kent’s council areas -Tunbridge Wells - voted for Brexit in 2016.

Over 970,000 people in the county voted in the historic referendum, with 59% voting to leave and 41% to remain.

Lorries queue at Dover. Photo: UKNIP
Lorries queue at Dover. Photo: UKNIP

Based on 18% of leave voters and more people who didn't vote in 2016 voting remain than leave that margin could switch, although it would be tight given many of the staunch remain voters surveyed said they would not vote to rejoin.

The research suggests that if a second referendum had been held at any time in the last five years, the most likely outcome would have been a narrow lead for remain.

As to the Brexit deal hammered out at the tail end of 2020, opinion is mixed.

Shortly after the UK-EU free trade deal was unveiled, just 21% in Britain said the UK left the EU with a good deal, compared with 36% who said it secured a bad deal.

‘Remain’ voters are particularly sceptical. A majority of 53% who voted to stay said the UK secured a bad deal, while 16% said it was a good deal.

Leave voters are more likely to say that the UK has obtained a good deal (35%) than a bad one (22%).

Nevertheless, most leave voters believe Brexit will deliver at least some of the benefits they anticipated five years ago.

Three-quarters (75%) of leave voters still expect Brexit to result in either less immigration or a better economy.

The report by Sir John Curtice is based on a unique series of twelve surveys, typically carried out with 2,000 people in Britain between September 2016 and January 2021.

In the 2016 vote, the area where voters were most sceptical was Gravesham, where 65% voted leave; Gravesham delivering the biggest vote at 65.4%. The closest race was in Canterbury with 51% voting to leave and 49% to remain.

How is Brexit going to affect Kent? For all the latest news, views and analysis visit our dedicated page here.

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