More than half of Britons think the UK will exit the European Union with a bad deal, new polling suggests.
Research by Professor John Curtice suggests the public has become more critical of negotiations and more pessimistic about the consequences of Brexit – even among those that voted to leave.
Of the 2200 people surveyed, 52% think Britain will get a bad deal – up from 37% in February. The proportion of Leave voters who think the UK will get a good Brexit deal has fallen from 51% to 28%.
Some 61% said the Government is handling negotiations badly – up from 41% in February. Those thinking the EU is handling talks badly has also risen from 47% to 57%.
Carried out for the National Centre for Social Research’s website, “What UK Thinks: EU,” the study also found just 21% of Leave voters think the Government has handled the Brexit negotiations well, compared to 42% in February.
“It might be thought the increased pessimism is primarily the result of Remain voters becoming increasingly disenchanted with the Brexit process,” said NatCen senior research fellow Curtice.
“However, this is not what has happened. Rather, pessimism has become much more widespread amongst those who voted Leave.”
However, public opinion on what kind of Brexit Britain should be seeking has changed little in the last 12 months, with the proportion who think the country should “definitely” or “probably” allow freedom of movement for EU citizens in return for securing free trade dropping from 54% in February to 53%.
Curtice said the findings show a growing disappointment with the process of leaving the EU, though this will not necessarily persuade voters to change their minds about whether leaving the EU is a good idea.
“So far, at least, voters seem inclined to blame the actors in the Brexit process for their perceived failure to be delivering what voters want rather than draw the conclusion that the act of leaving is misguided.
“A difficult Brexit could simply prove politically costly for Mrs May and her beleaguered government rather than a catalyst for a change of heart on Brexit.”