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Who votes for the Brexit Party?

Overview

A new analysis of polling commissioned by HOPE not hate provides valuable insight into the views of Brexit Party supporters, where they stand on the key issues, and how they feel about the key personalities in British politics today:

  • Brexit Party supporters are overwhelmingly anti-immigrant, hostile towards Muslims in Britain, but do not like the hard-core narrative of ‘Tommy Robinson’ or Gerard Batten.
  • Despite the fact this voter block is highly likely to turn out to vote, they are very anti-establishment and mistrustful of politicians.
  • They are really followers of Farage: their trust in UKIP has degraded but they still hold Nigel in high regard. At the same time, they really want politicians to listen to them more, so his ‘say what we’re all thinking’ image is cutting through the reality of his background.
  • They are unsurprisingly, very Brexit motivated and very optimistic about what Brexit will bring.
  • They feel betrayed by delays and would not be put off if a campaign to stop the overturning of Brexit became violent.
  • Brexit party supporters are not homogenous in their views. There are some clear splits between distinct groups of supporters in terms of their support for the NHS, support for welfare and zero hours contracts.

What the polling says

Brexit

Britain leaving the EU is, unsurprisingly, the most important issue for Brexit party supporters (60%), followed by immigration and asylum (35%), health (32%) and crime (30%).

84% of Brexit party voters want Britain to leave the EU without a deal. 13% want to leave on the terms negotiated by the Government, just 2% want to leave the EU but stay inside the customs union and single market.

However, Brexit party supporters are incredibly optimistic about what Brexit will bring:

  • Just 11% think that their personal economic circumstances will get worse in the next few years after Britain leaves the EU
  • 30% think it will get better and 59% think there will be no change
  • 57% think the economic circumstances of the country as a whole will get better
  • 13% think they will get worse and 30% think there will be no noticeable change.
  • 84% think that the British economy as a whole will be better off after the UK leaves the EU, just 2% say they think the economy will be worse off
  • 65% think that economic prospects for themselves and their families will be better after Britain leaves the EU, just 1% say this would be better if Britain remained an EU member
  • 78% think that opportunities for children growing up today would be better if the UK leaves the EU – just 2% think these would be better if we remained.

This is worrying given the predicted impacts of the hard Brexit these same people are seeking.  A devastating impact on the economy that does not match up with their false hopes will see a rise in frustration, anger and anti-politics sentiment.

The majority are already very angry about the delay to Britain’s departure from the EU (89% compared to 35% nationally):

  • 81% say that if it looked as though Brexit was about to be reversed, and Britain would instead remain a member of the EU, they would support a campaign to ensure Britain does go ahead and leave the EU
  • If as part of this campaign there were protests that then became violent, or threatened violence, 77% of those supporting such a campaign would not consider their view. Only 9% would reconsider their position. 

Islam, immigration and multiculturalism

The great majority of Brexit Party supporters are extremely opposed to multiculturalism and immigration:

  • 71% say that having a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures has undermined British culture
  • 67% say that on the whole, immigration into Britain has been a bad thing for the country
  • 73% say that Britain’s multiracial society isn’t working and different communities generally live separate lives.

They see multiculturalism as having a more negative than positive effect on both British culture (72% say negative, 12% say positive) and, to a slightly lesser extent the British economy (44% say negative, 30% say positive).

They are extremely negative about the state of Britain today. When asked if they think that, overall, things now are better or worse than they were ten years ago, 76% say that things are worse for Britain as a whole. Just 22% think things are better for themselves and their families.

78% think that new immigrants are given priority ahead over established residents when it comes to benefits or using public services. 

Just 11% think that a sharp reduction in immigration after the UK leaves the EU will have an adverse effect on the British economy; 67% refute this. 

42% feel very strongly that immigration has on balance made this country worse.

A large share of Brexit party supporters hold strong anti-Muslim views: 

  • 37% see Muslims extremely negatively, distinctly different form their view on all other religious groups
  • 63% think that Islam is generally a threat to the British way of life. Just 14% think it is generally compatible
  • When asked why, 44% said they saw Islam as a threat to the British way of life because Islam breeds intolerance for free speech and calls for violent actions against those who mock, criticise or depict the religion in ways they believe are offensive; 40% said so because they believe that Islam seeks to replace British law with Sharia law
  • 79% think that Islam poses a serious threat to Western civilisation
  • 63% believe that there are no go areas in Britain where sharia law dominates and non-Muslims cannot enter; only 12% disagree
  • 48% say they would feel very uncomfortable if they passed a woman in the street wearing religious clothing that covers the face

At the same time, slightly more think discrimination is a serious problem for Muslims in Britain today (32%) as deny this (31%).

Brexit party supporters share an assimilationist view of integration which reflects their anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant views. The most popular intervention to improve community relations in Britain are banning religious clothing that covers the face, like the burqa (56%), controlling and reducing new immigration (47%) and compulsory English classes for all new immigrants (44%).

Values and identity

Brexit Party supporters think that British values are in decline (42% strongly agree that they are).

Brexit party supporters are slightly more likely to identify as English (49%) than British (48%). The population as a whole is much more likely to see themselves as British (59%) than English (26%).

Brexit party supporters are more optimistic about the future than the majority population: 49% are optimistic, 51% are pessimistic. 75% are happy with their lives so far.

Party affiliation 

 The majority of Brexit party supporters hold a very high level of support- on a scale of 1-100, where 0 means you absolutely would never vote for the party and 100 means you feel politically very warm towards the party, 75% place themselves between 90-100, 23% at 81- 90 and 2% between 71-80.

Most have a broken relationship with the Conservative party, feeling let down by delays to Britain’s exit from the EU. A third (33%) feel strongly that they would absolutely never vote Conservative, while 14% say they still feel very warm towards the party.

Most also have a broken relationship with UKIP: just 24% of Brexit party supporters fell very warm towards UKIP, with 29% saying that they would definitely never vote for the party. 

Personalities 

They do not think much of Theresa May – just 6% see her very favourably

They have a very positive view of Nigel Farage. 64% see him very favourably

But they dislike Gerard Batten. Just 5% see him very favourably

The majority also oppose Tommy Robinson. 37% see him very unfavourably, while 11% see him very favourably- though this is over 5 times greater than the proportion of the population as a whole, among whom 2% see him very positively

Anti-politics

Brexit party supporters share a strong anti-politics and anti-establishment view:

  • 83% think that political correctness is used by the liberal elite to limit what we can say. 
  • 80% say that none of the main political parties speak for me
  • 59% believe that the media and politicians work together to lie to the public
  • 79% think that political correctness is causing the police and media to deliberately play down the ethnic background of some child sex abuse scandals
  • Just 4% say they think the political system works well
  • 77% feel very strongly that politicians should pay more attention to voters views- more than the average person (50% of total feel the same way). 

Despite their support for ‘strongman’ politician Farage, just 6% feel strongly that politicians should lead the way, and not be swayed too easily by public opinion

87% think that you cannot be proud of your national identity these days without being called racist, with only 11% agreeing that Brexit has enabled and legitimised prejudice towards migrants and ethnic minorities.

44% feel very strongly that discrimination against white people has become as big a problem as discrimination against non-white people. Just 8% feel very strongly that discrimination against non-white people continues to be far more significant than any discrimination against white people.

This article contains an analysis of those who said they hold a favourable view of the Brexit party (n=934 weighted) in our Fear & HOPE polling. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 6,118 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 26th April – 1st May 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).