Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
13 February 2017updated 14 Feb 2017 10:18am

Is this Bregret? What a new poll reveals about the chances of staying in the EU

More than 13 per cent of those who voted Leave now regret their vote, according to one survey. 

By Julia Rampen

Since 23 June 2016, a new stereotype has emerged in British politics – the Remoaner. This miserable creature has a single refrain on Brexit: “You’ll regret it later.” So far, polls have suggested otherwise. But according to The Mirror, the Remoaners may, for the first time, be right.

The left-wing tabloid has published a poll which suggests that if the EU referendum was held today, the result would be reversed, with 51 per cent opting to remain. 

This is due, it says, to the fact that 13.5 per cent of those who voted Leave are now Bregretters, who would vote to stay in if they had the chance again. 

Of course, this is no surprise to Remoaners, who will point out that since the start of 2017, the Prime Minister has had to accept the UK will leave the single market, and kowtow to belligerent cheese puff President Donald Trump. 

So could this be the opportunity they have been waiting for? 

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

Not so fast.

Content from our partners
“I learn something new on every trip"
How data can help revive our high streets in the age of online shopping
Why digital inclusion is a vital piece of levelling up

First, all but die-hard Europhiles will question the reliability of the poll. The Mirror used a Google Survey of more than 44,000 readers of Trinity Mirror websites (this includes regional titles like the Liverpool Echo and Manchester Evening News).

Google Surveys may yet be the future of polling – it was bang on in predicting the popular vote for Hillary Clinton in the US election, and it uses reader’s age, gender and geographical location to build a representative sample. 

But there are still questions about a poll that relies so heavily on online respondents, and those who dedicate time to engaging with the news, and choose to fill in surveys – compared to those who pollsters only track down by pestering with phone calls. 

Keiran Pedley, who presents the podcast Polling Matters, told The Staggers the poll results may be demographically representative, but it is not clear whether they are also politically so. He said: “The reality is that there is little evidence of ‘Brexit regret’ from the wide range of data we have available.”

Second, whether or not British voters are feeling Bregret, it isn’t reflected in the polls the government really cares about. The Conservative government is enjoying a 26 point lead in the polls over Labour, according to YouGov, including support from 29 per cent of those who voted Remain.  

Third, the Mirror poll found that even among those who were motivated enough to respond, the majority (51.3 per cent) would not want a second referendum – the most obvious way to stop Britain quitting the EU. The chorus of Remoaners may grow louder, but the Brexit process rolls on.