Brexit: New survey shows surge in Remain support since 2016

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A survey of more than 2,000 Islanders, which was carried out by Guernsey-based Island Global Research, has found that 61% of Jersey respondents would now prefer Britain to remain in the EU, while 21% would favour a no-deal Brexit and 17% would support a departure with a deal in place. The survey used standard statistical weighting to allow IGR to use the results to represent the Island as a whole.

A previous survey carried out by the independent polling company shortly before the EU referendum in June 2016 also indicated a pro-Remain feeling in the Island, but by a much narrower margin. The UK referendum did not include Jersey.That report, which sampled 500 Islanders and used similar methodology, found that 40% thought that Brexit would be bad for the Island, while 37% thought it would be a positive thing and 23% were uncertain.

Chamber of Commerce chief executive Murray Norton said that a poll the organisation carried out this week indicated that its members were 55% in favour of a second referendum being held, while 27% would like Brexit with a deal and 17% supported a no-deal departure.

‘I think that there are two things at work here. The likelihood of a no-deal has increased and people are viewing Remain as a better option to that,’ he said.

‘And the other thing is that with Brexit getting ever nearer, the actual impact on people’s lives – things like the ability to travel and food prices – is crystalising. These impacts are more likely to be short-term than long- term, though.’

Brexit voting preferences for age groups (26034332)

The new survey, which sampled the three Crown Dependencies [Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man], found that 72% of Jersey respondents are now following news about Brexit very closely or closely, with just 3% saying that they are taking no interest at all.

It also indicated huge differences in the views of Islanders based on their age.

Across the three Crown Dependencies, younger residents were heavily in favour of Remain, with 79% of the 25- to 39-year-old age group surveyed indicating a pro-EU stance.

By comparison, just 25% of over-75s surveyed would prefer the UK to remain in the European Union, with older age groups showing a preference for Leave.

The government has stated that Jersey will be affected by Brexit in a number of ways, including Islanders’ facing longer queues when they travel to France and having stricter checks applied to pets and vehicles, should they wish to travel to the continent.

Concerns have also been raised about disruption to supply routes, which may leave the Island short of some types of fresh produce, if it originates from the EU.

Earlier this week, Chief Minister John Le Fondré declared that Jersey is as ‘ready for Brexit as it could be’ but, according to the survey, 49% of Islanders feel that the government is not doing enough to prepare for the UK leaving.

The report says: ‘The sample of respondents was highly reflective of the age and gender profiles of adults residents in each island. Survey weights were applied to adjust for the small differences between the age and gender of the sample and the resident population. This is a standard statistical method that allows us to report results for the islands as a whole.’

The survey was completed by 5,842 residents across the Crown Dependencies, including 2,217 in Jersey, 1,610 in Guernsey and 2,105 in the Isle of Man.

It was conducted online between 27 September and 9 October 2019 and comprised seven questions.

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