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Introducing the new tribes

Introducing our seven new tribes to better understand how Brexit has changed Britain.

The new tribes reflect both how Brexit has changed us as a nation, and the growing polarisation we have recorded in our previous Fear and HOPE reports.

As with our previous segmentation studies, we have identified two groups with strong socially liberal views. Both of these groups identify strongly as remain voters, and see immigration and multiculturalism as overwhelmingly positive, though to different levels of enthusiasm.

And just as with our previous reports, we have identified two groups who are strongly opposed to immigration and multiculturalism, showing active hostility towards Muslims and Islam in Britain. However, there are clear attitudinal differences between these groups.

One group strongly identifies as Leave voters, motivated by Brexit, identifying strongly with Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party. This group are optimistic about Brexit, and feel it will bring economic gains to them and their families, as well as the country as a whole.

The other tribe feel completely detached from the political system, and while some voted for Brexit, they do not feel that it will change anything for their own situation. This group are overwhelmingly pessimistic, are dissatisfied with their own lives, and are most likely to think violence is acceptable.

In the middle sit three tribes, all who feel less motivated by Brexit, but see identity issues differently, though none to any extreme. Established Optimists are most likely to identify with the Conservative party, and see immigration positively. They differ from all the other tribes in their optimism for the future, and satisfaction in their own lives.

The other two middle-ground tribes feel there are more important issues than Brexit, though one sees immigration very positively. The other has some anxieties about immigration and  multiculturalism, though not to the same extent as the two hostile tribes, and feels disconnected from the political system.

The two liberal, Remain supporting tribes make up 28.7% of the population, although the share of the population who belong to immigration-positive and multiculturalist groups make up 45%. The share of the population who fit within the two hostile tribes make up 32.3% of the population. This reflect our polarised debate around cultural and identity issues.

A significant difference between the new tribes and our previous Fear and HOPE tribes is that these groups do not divide as clearly on the overlay between economic security and cultural anxieties, but also on political trust and their expectations from Brexit.

Why Tribes?

Attitudinal segmentation studies divide the population into a series of groups according to their attitudes and motivations, in order to better understand how the population is divided over key values, and how cultural and economic issues intersect differently among different groups of people. Once relevant attitudinal clusters are identified, they are further analysed for any other shared or similar traits such as demographic or behavioural attributes.

It helps us to understand voting intentions, messaging and campaigns that will reach certain audiences, and the limits of how these will appeal. Attitudinal segmentation draws red lines along questions of key values, from which we separate out each of our new tribes.


The New Tribes

Active Multiculturalist: 12.3%

The most socially liberal and politically active of the tribes, this tribe hold the strongest remain identity and are most concerned about Britain’s departure from the EU. They see immigration and multiculturalism as overwhelmingly positive, and have likely hardened their liberal views in response to the increase in racism since the referendum, which they are outraged by. They predict dire consequences for the country, and are the most pessimistic about the future as a result, but they maintain trust in the establishment- 40% feel represented by at last one political party.

This group are most likely to have voted Remain, and to have voted Labour or Lib Dem. The majority of Labour’s 2017 vote came from this tribe, who are the most likely to be members of a political party of all the groups. They are most likely to live in London and the South East, and most possess a university degree. They have a smaller share of BAME members than the Liberal Remainer tribe, are generally middle class, and are most likely to read the Guardian.

Liberal Remainers: 16.4%

This group share the liberal values of the Active Multiculturalist tribe, albeit to a slightly lesser degree. They are driven by Brexit, and are most likely to identify strongly as Remain voters. They have a higher proportion of BAME and EU citizens than any other tribe, and are three times more likely than the average person to identify as European. They identify most strongly with Jeremy Corbyn and are most likely to have voted Labour, Lib Dem or Green in 2017, and to have voted to Remain in the European Union. This tribe contains the highest proportion of young people and are

The majority of this tribe have a degree, are high earners, and are more likely to live in London or Scotland. They are most likely to be non-religious, and unlike their liberal counterparts the active multiculturalists, are indifferent about different religious groups, although a small minority within this tribe hold anxieties about Muslims and Islam in Britain.

Established Optimists: 16.2%

This tribe share the closest affinity to the Conservative party, and are the only tribe who are more optimistic than pessimistic about the future. This tribe contains an equal proportion of Leave and Remain voters, and overwhelmingly see a positive effect from immigration and multiculturalism, though are not as active as the two liberal tribes in their articulation of this.

This is a pragmatic, comfortable, middle-Englander group that favours centrist politics. They are most likely to have voted Conservative in 2015 and 2017, and have an unfavourable view of Jeremy Corbyn and Nigel Farage.

Comfortable ambivalent: Cluster 6 16.2% This group are more likely to see immigration and multiculturalism positively than the average person, and are on the whole ambivalent about cultural issues, but have some concerns about Islam and Muslims in Britain. Of all the tribes, they are the most ambivalent about Brexit, and see health as a more important issue.

This group contains a high proportion of BAME people, tend to be of working age, and are likely to have a degree, although are not as likely to be high earners.

Anxious ambivalent: 6.5%

This group are not motivated by Brexit, and have negative views towards immigration, Islam and Muslims, though to a much lesser extent than the hostile Brexiter or Anti-establishment pessimist tribes. They feel very detached from the political process and are pessimistic about the future.

They are most likely not to vote, but those who do are just as likely to vote leave as remain, or for any of the main political parties. They have generally left the education system at a young age, and are most likely to be white and working class.

Hostile Brexiters: 15.3%

This group are motivated by Brexit, are opposed to immigration and multiculturalism and are more likely to see themselves as English than British. Almost a third of Labour’s lost 2015 vote come from this group, with many feeling disconnected from and resentful of it’s growing liberal base. The largest share of UKIP and the Conservatives’ 2017 vote came from this tribe, although they now feel little affinity to the Tories, feeling let down by Brexit. They identify most with Nigel Farage and are now most likely to vote for the Brexit party.

They are most likely to read The Sun, The Daily Mail, or the Express, are almost homogenously white. They are on the whole older than the other tribes. Most do not have a degree, and are more likely to live in towns than cities. The highest proportion of people in the West Midlands fit into this tribe.

They are optimistic about the effects of Brexit for themselves and the country as a whole, which they feel will bring about greater opportunities and economic gains. They are very concerned about Islam

and Muslims in Britain, and 67% of this group believe that there are no go zones in Britain where Sharia law dominates and non-Muslims cannot enter. However, they are less concerned about immigration as a whole than the anti-establishment pessimist tribe, and many from this group see positive economic effects of immigration despite their cultural anxieties.

Anti-Establishment Pessimists: 17.1%

This group are very strongly anti-immigration and multiculturalism, but are much less motivated by Brexit. They are overwhelmingly pessimistic, are most unhappy about their lives so far, and are most likely to think things have gotten worse over the last ten years. They are also most detached from the political system, and only 13% feel that at least one of the main political parties represent what they think. They do not share the Brexit optimism of the hostile brexiters group, and tend to think things will stay the same, or get worse, after Britain leaves the EU. The vast majority of this tribe think that immigration has been a bad thing for the country. They are least concerned about the economy of all the tribes, indicating their disconnect from ‘the establishment’ and institutions.

This tribe is working class, almost homogeneously white British, are least likely to have a degree, with the majority holding a GCSE level education or equivalent, and many holding no formal qualifications. The highest share of unemployed people is in this tribe, and they are most likely to live in poor households. The majority of Tommy Robinson’s support comes from this tribe.

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