What Sort of Brexit Do the British People Want?

A Longitudinal Study Examining the 'Trade-Offs' People Would Be Willing to Make in Reaching a Brexit Deal

Published in: King's College London website (October 2018)

Posted on RAND.org on October 10, 2018

by Jonathan Grant, Charlene Rohr, David Howarth, Hui Lu, Alexandra Pollitt

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In July 2017 we published a proof-of-concept study using a technique known as 'stated preference discrete choice experiments' to understand what sort of Brexit the British people really wanted and what trade-offs they would be willing to make in negotiations for a deal with the EU. We asked 917 members of the British public, in a survey fielded in February and March 2017, to make choices between different possible options for the relationship between the UK and the EU. As negotiations continue between the UK government and the EU, we decided to revisit this study to see whether people's priorities have changed in terms of what is important in the UK's future relationship with the EU, given the political discourse and events of the last year. To have the best chance of measuring whether people's preferences have changed over this period, we approached the same people that we surveyed in February 2017, managing to repeat the survey with 752 of them. We added a further 164 new respondents to our sample, giving a total of 916 participants for the 2018 round of the study. This second round occurred in April and May 2018, before publication of the government's white paper on the future relationship between the UK and the EU in July of the same year. In this short report we set out what we did, and why we think using discrete choice analysis is a useful and illuminating way to understand the UK public's preferences for a Brexit outcome. We then summarise the key events that have occurred since the June 2016 referendum to provide some context around the snapshots in time that our survey data represent. In addition, we provide a brief review of other salient polls that have come out over the period and are relevant to our findings.

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