Brexit backers not regretting decision - John Curtice

Picture: Neil Hanna

Picture: Neil Hanna

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Voters are showing little sign of “buyer’s remorse” over the choice they made in the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union, according to academics.

Abstainers may have a “degree” of regret but most of the public are content with the decision they took at the ballot box on June 23, Prof John Curtice found after analysing a range of polls carried out in the wake of the result.

John Curtice. Picture: Robert Perry

John Curtice. Picture: Robert Perry

The public has become more “realistic” about the impact Brexit will have on migration levels and NHS spending, the polling expert said.

And there is “quite an appetite” for a compromise exit deal that gives the UK a lot of access to the Single Market and some control over immigration, he found.

Speaking at King’s College London, Prof Curtice said: “Some of the expectations about the consequences of Brexit for the level of immigration have been somewhat toned down.

“Before the referendum, over half the public expected the level of immigration to fall as a consequence of Brexit. Now, however, that number has fallen to around 45%.

“So there are perhaps, somewhat realistic expectations of the consequences of Brexit.”

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Vote Leave produced billboards during the campaign that said: “Let’s give our NHS the £350 million the EU takes every week” - a promise that was heavily attacked for lacking credibility.

Before the referendum 40% of voters believed Brexit would have a positive impact on the NHS but that has since dropped to 26%, YouGov research highlighted by Prof Curtice found.

“Most people just don’t think it is going to make a difference,” he said.

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Only around one third of voters want a second referendum, “virtually all of them” remain voters.

“Not much evidence of buyer’s remorse,” Prof Curtice said. “That means the UK is still divided pretty much down the middle over the arguments over the referendum.”

He added: “The message that emerges is that actually there is quite an appetite inside the UK for some kind of compromise that means that we will still have quite a lot of access to the Single Market but we also have some control over immigration or at least we are no longer tied to the freedom of movement visions as they are currently constituted.”

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