What British people think about Brexit now

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The UK narrowly voted in favour of Leave in the EU referendum, but with six months to go until Brexit, where does the country stand now?

From whether the UK should hold another referendum, to what Brexit means for the economy, the opinion polls reveal a great deal about what the country thinks.

How well are talks being handled?

Immediately before last year's general election, as many people thought the government was handling the negotiations well as felt it was doing so badly.

But confidence fell away quickly when Theresa May lost her Commons majority.

By last autumn nearly three times as many people thought the government was handling things badly (61%) as believed it was doing a good job (22%). Since the cabinet reached the Chequers agreement on how to handle the UK's future relationship with the EU, that ratio has increased further - to five to one.

Leave voters have become much more critical, with only about 20% thinking the government is doing well, compared with 70% who feel it is doing badly.

But voters are critical not only of the government. The polling organisation NatCen recently found 57% think the EU is handling the talks badly, while only 16% believe it is doing well.

Meanwhile, polls consistently find that voters are still more likely to trust the Conservatives than Labour on the issue.

Will the UK get a good deal?

Voters have also become increasingly pessimistic about how good a deal the UK will get.

Until last year's general election, more people agreed than disagreed that the prime minister would secure a good deal, but thereafter, monthly polls have suggested that only about a third think the UK will get the right deal, while nearly half do not.

Confidence fell yet further after the Chequers agreement. In ORB's most recent poll just 22% agreed that the prime minister will get the right deal, while 59% disagreed.

Unsurprisingly, those who voted Remain have long been pessimistic. Even as long ago as September 2016, only 17% thought the UK would secure a good outcome.

But doubts are now also widespread among Leave voters. According to NatCen, 40% now think the UK will get a bad deal, while just 22% reckon it will get a good one.

What will Brexit mean for the economy?

More voters think that Brexit will be bad for the economy than believe it will be beneficial. That was also the position before the referendum.

However, despite the continuing debate about the economic consequences of Brexit, the balance of opinion has shifted little.

According to ICM's most recent poll, 44% of people think Brexit will be bad for the economy. That is an almost identical proportion to the 43% who held that view 18 months ago.

But attitudes towards the economic consequences do seem to influence whether voters would vote the same way in another referendum.

Only about half of Leave voters who now think that Brexit will be bad for the economy would vote the same way again, a recent NatCen survey found. And only two-fifths of Remain voters who now think the economy will be better off after Brexit would vote to stay in the EU again.

Controlling immigration

Immigration was a key issue for many of those who voted Leave in 2016, in part due to the EU's rules on freedom of movement.

However, some recent polling has suggested that the level of concern has declined.

The proportion of people who think the rules on immigration should be the same for EU residents as those from elsewhere in the world fell from 74% in autumn 2016 to 59% now, according to NatCen.

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But many polls suggest voters remain more or less evenly divided over whether it is more important for the UK to end freedom of movement or stay in the EU's single market.

While most Remain supporters think it is more important to stay in the single market, most of those who voted Leave think ending freedom of movement is more important.

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Do Britons still wish to leave the EU?

Before last year's general election, polls that asked people how they would vote if the referendum question was asked again often found a small majority in favour of Leave.

But since then, nearly every poll has found a small majority saying that they would vote Remain. However, there is no consistent evidence suggesting that support for Remain has subsequently increased further.

The UK remains more or less evenly divided on the merits of Brexit.

Some polls find that those who voted Leave are a little less likely than those who backed Remain to say that they would vote the same way again.

But this is not the only reason why there appears to have been a small swing to Remain since the referendum.

All polls find that those who did not vote in 2016 - in some cases because they were too young to do so - are more likely to say they would vote Remain rather than Leave.

So, should another referendum ever be held, the outcome might well depend on who turns out.

Do people want another referendum?

Whether people support a second referendum depends on what they are asked.

Polls that ask whether voters should have the final say on Brexit typically find more support for the idea than those that simply ask if there should be another referendum.

Similarly, polls that ask whether there should be another ballot tend to find more support than those specifying the choice would be between accepting whatever deal is agreed and remaining in the EU.

The question that has been asked most often is: "Do you think there should be a second referendum to accept or reject the terms of Britain's exit from the EU once they have been agreed?"

This idea has gradually become more popular - even more so in the wake of the Chequers agreement. But there may still not be a majority in favour.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, this is an issue on which Remain and Leave supporters disagree.

Irrespective of how they ask about it, polls typically find that around two-thirds of Remain voters would like another ballot

However, the majority - maybe as many as two-thirds - of those who backed Leave are against the idea.

About this piece

Sir John Curtice is professor of politics at Strathclyde University, senior fellow at NatCen Social Research and The UK in a Changing Europe. He is also chief commentator at WhatUKthinks.org.

Edited by Duncan Walker