One third of voters support Lib Dems in having a referendum on terms of Brexit deal

A currently fashionable explanation for the absence of a Lib Dem polling surge during the general election so far is that the party’s European policy is at odds with an electorate who, it is said, just want to get on with Brexit. However, a new poll paints a rather different picture.

Just under one-third of voters (32%) say they agree with the Liberal Democrat policy of holding a referendum on the terms of Brexit according to the latest Survation poll.

The question was worded this way: “Do you support or oppose the following Liberal Democrat policies? – Second EU referendum on Brexit deal”. Two things are worth noting about that wording. First, its association with the Liberal Democrats. Typically support for policies falls if they are associated with a party riding lower in the opinion polls. Second, the “second” piece of the referendum frames the policy in the way opponents do – about having another go at the issue – rather than in the way Lib Dems do – it’d be a referendum on something that hasn’t yet been voted on by the public or Parliament, i.e. the actual terms of the deal.

Add to both of those factors that fact that, say, 20% of the vote at the general election would be a brilliant result for the party and the fact that 32% support this policy shows there is plenty of room for the Lib Dem line on Europe to appeal to enough voters for a good election result. The issue is making that appeal, well, appealing.

The poll also found 57% backing the party’s policy of upping income tax rates by 1p in order to fund NHS and social care improvements.

One response to “One third of voters support Lib Dems in having a referendum on terms of Brexit deal”

  1. Well, yes and no Mark. The polling quoted suggests that there is more political upside with some LibDem policies than the 8% suggested by the national polls. But there are two connected problems here. Even if 57% of voters back the income tax promise to fund the NHS and social care improvements, this has to be set against the likelihood of delivery. If the chances appear small to the voters, then the offer becomes hypothetical: a nice idea, but it will never happen and can, therefore, be safely discounted in the minds’ of the voters.

    Similarly, the 32% quoted for support for a second referendum on the terms of Brexit. The voters are probably aware, (vaguely in Labour’s case), that the Conservative and Labour parties are not offering a second referendum. So again, the chances of a second referendum appears small and the offer of one, while being politically distinct, appears hypothetical when set against the firm bread-and-butter manifesto retail offerings by the others parties – a case of jam today (yes, please), rather than Euro-referendum (a matter of high politics) jam tomorrow.

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