Only 14% of people now think Brexit will improve their standard of living, a major new survey has found.
The research reveals the level of pessimism the public has about how the government’s negotiations are going, and the impact of leaving the EU on key issues over the following five years.
The survey, by the Policy Institute at King’s College London, in partnership with Ipsos MORI and the UK in a Changing Europe, was first carried out before the referendum on leaving the EU and researchers say the comparison of the two sets of results shows “signs of growing unease”.
The latest results show that 44% of the public expect the UK to leave the EU in March 2019 without a deal in place.
Of those who responded, almost one third (29%) are more hopeful and expect the UK to leave with a deal, while 7% think the UK will not leave the EU in March.
There is a stark difference between how people feel about the Brexit negotiations depending on which political party they vote for and how they voted in referendum, according to the findings.
Professor Anand Menon, Director of UK in a Changing Europe, said: “As the Brexit endgame approaches, knowing what the public wants and expects from the process is as important as ever.
“These findings indicate that the British people are coming to grasp some of the trade-offs involved in leaving the European Union.
“What will be fascinating in the weeks to come will be whether this carries over into attitudes on whether Brexit itself remains an attractive proposition.”
Labour Remain supporters are more likely to think that the UK is heading for a no deal Brexit, with 54% seeing this as the most likely outcome, while Conservative Leave supporters are most likely to think we’ll leave with a deal (53%).
Overall, 31% of people said they were expecting their standard of living to decrease, which has gone up from 25% in 2016.
This result also differs depending on political party preference – with 41% of Labour supporters and 58% of Lib Dem supporters saying that they expect their living standards to worsen.
More than a third (39%) of the public expect the UK economic growth rate to decrease as a result of Brexit, which is a balance of very different views between Leave and Remain supporters: 64% of Remain supporters expect Brexit to decrease growth rates, compared with only 17% of Leave supporters.
When it comes to the impact of Brexit on the quality of NHS services, people are split, with 34% expecting them to decrease.The proportion of the public with this expectation has doubled since 2016, when only 17% thought Brexit would lead to a decline in the quality of NHS services.
Professor Bobby Duffy, director of the Policy Institute, said: “There is little general optimism about the outcome of the Brexit negotiations and the ongoing impact of leaving the EU, particularly on living standards and economic growth.
“But as with other aspects of our relationship with Europe, our predictions reveal the huge divisions in the country – different groups see the future very differently, with Conservative and Leave supporters more optimistic that Brexit will have little economic impact on the UK, while reducing EU immigration.
“There are, however, some signs of growing unease among the public since we last asked these questions just before the EU Referendum. There has been an increase in the proportion of people expecting their own living standards to decline, and a doubling of the proportion expecting the quality of services from the NHS to decline, now a third of the public.”