Brexit Concern Hasn’t Crossed the Atlantic

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Washington, DC - Despite significant concern about the Brexit in Europe, Americans lack strong knowledge or concern about the situation. A major new Ipsos survey across 16 countries provides insight into how major countries have reacted to Brexit, and to what comes next for Britain and the EU. The survey, carried out online among adults in Belgium, France, Britain, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden and seven non- European countries (Canada, US, Japan, Russia, India, Australia and South Africa) provides our first measure of international public opinion on this issue. Despite strong feelings in EU countries, North Americans are generally indifferent towards the UK’s decision to leave.

"At this point we might call the impact of Brexit the shot heard three-quarters round the world, according to the US opinion numbers," said Julia Clark, SVP of Ipsos Public Affairs. "In the coming months, we may see a bit of a shift as the markets influence public awareness."

Reactions to Brexit

  • Those on this side of the Atlantic are generally less worried about how Brexit will impact their futures with just 31% in the U.S. and 36% in Canada showing concern. They post similarly low numbers for feeling more hopeful since the UK’s decision was made (US 19%, Canada 8%, Australia 14%). Russia was the least likely indicate increased concern about their future in Brexit’s wake (10%).
  • Perhaps some of the lack of concern is rooted in a lack of knowledge about the issue. Many Americans don’t know if Britain’s vote to exit the EU was the right or wrong decision for Britain (42%) or Europe (46%). The Japanese are most indifferent with 58% saying they don’t know if it was the right or wrong choice decision for the European Union.
  • In Britain, nearly half (49%) feel sad following the vote to exit the EU, followed closely by Sweden (48%) and Belgium (41%). Outside of the European Union, feelings about the Brexit are more varied. Almost an equal number of Americans feel sad (20%) as feel happy (19%) about the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

Impact of the vote on UK and the EU – and the domino effect

  • The United States is almost evenly split on whether the UK will be stronger (33%), weaker (32%) or remain the same (36%) post-Brexit. The British are more pessimistic, with almost half (49%), believing they will now be weaker, although 35% think it will strengthen the country. Russia is most optimistic, with almost half (47%) believing UK will get stronger.
  • Italians are the most positive about the overall impact on Britain: 41% say it will make the UK weaker, but 34% say stronger (64% in Germany and Spain, on the other hand, say the vote will weaken the UK). Views are even more positive outside the EU: India in particular is more likely to say the UK will be stronger (44%) than weaker (36%).
  • The threat of a “domino effect” of other countries following Britain seems to have receded slightly: overall 41% in EU countries expect other countries to follow, down from 48% in our pre-EU Referendum survey. Following Brexit, the number of Americans agreeing that more countries will follow dropped significantly (pre-Brexit 49%, post-Brexit 40%), while many other non-EU countries generally maintained their pre-Brexit sentiments.
  • For more information, the report is available for download on the right side of this page.

    For the results of the survey presented herein, an international sample of 12,525 adults aged 18-64 in the US and Canada, and age 16-64 in all other countries, were interviewed via the Ipsos Online Panel system in 16 countries around the world. The data is weighted to match the profile of the population. The precision of Ipsos online polls are calculated using a credibility interval with a poll of 1,000 accurate to +/- 1.0 percentage points. For more information on the Ipsos use of credibility intervals, please visit the Ipsos website.

    For more information on this news release, please contact:

    Julia Clark
    Senior Vice President
    Ipsos Public Affairs

    About Ipsos

    Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks third in the global research industry.

    With offices in 87 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media, customer loyalty, marketing, public affairs research, and survey management.

    Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

    Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues €1,669.5 ($2,218.4 million) in 2014.

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Brexit Concern Hasn’t Crossed the Atlantic

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Clifford Young
President, US
Ipsos Public Affairs
Julia Clark
Senior Vice President, US
Ipsos Public Affairs