Toronto, ON – As the dust settles after the UK’s ‘Brexit’ vote on independence from the European Union, the prevailing view in Canada is that the decision to leave the EU is more negative than positive by more than a two-to-one margin. At the same time, however, many Canadians appear undecided or think that there won’t be a particularly strong impact on Britain either way.
More than four in ten Canadians (44%) think Brexit was the wrong decision for Britain, while only 17% think it was the right decision, according to a new Ipsos poll. Many Canadians simply aren’t sure: four in ten (40%) just don’t know what the impact on Britain will be.
For some, the view that Brexit was the wrong decision for the UK stems from the opinion that the UK will be weaker as a result of the referendum decision. Four in ten Canadians (44%) think the UK will be weaker following its vote to leave the EU. Conversely, just 15% think the UK will be stronger, while a further four in ten (41%) simply don’t know.
Specifically, nearly six in ten (57%) think that Brexit will be negative (15 % ‘very’/42 % ‘somewhat’) for the British economy. Three in ten (30%) say it will make no difference, while about one in ten (13%) think it will be positive (3% ‘very’/11% ‘somewhat’) for the British economy. At the same time, nearly half of Canadians (46%) think Brexit will be negative (10% ‘very’/36 % ‘somewhat’) for Britain’s influence on the world stage. Nearly as many (42%) say it will make no difference, and only one in ten (12%) think it will be positive (3% ‘very’/10% ‘somewhat’) for Britain’s global influence.
Many Canadians also see negative fallout for the European Union. Almost half (47%) think Brexit was the wrong decision for the EU, compared to about one in ten (9%) who think it was the right decision. Four in ten (44%) are unsure.
Once again, many suspect that Brexit will leave the EU in a weakened state: nearly half of Canadians (47%) think the EU will be weaker in the wake of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union. However, just as many (48%) aren’t sure. Only 5% think the EU will be stronger as a result of the UK’s vote.
Indeed, Canadians are even more likely to think Brexit will negatively impact the EU’s economy and global influence as they are to anticipate similar consequences for the UK. Half of Canadians (55%) think that Brexit will be negative (10% ‘very’/45% ‘somewhat’) for the EU economy, while four in ten (38%) think it will make no difference. Fewer than one in ten (7%) think it will be positive (1% ‘very’/6% ‘somewhat). Meanwhile, four in ten Canadians (45%) think Brexit will negative (7% ‘very’/38% ‘somewhat’) for the EU’s influence on the world stage. However, half (49%) say it will make no difference, leaving just 6% who think it will be positive (1% ‘very/5% ‘somewhat) for the EU’s global reach.
The idea that Brexit might start a domino effect, with other member states also voting to leave the EU, is not a majority view in Canada – which has its own experience of independence referenda and their aftershocks. Only one in three Canadians (36%) agree (6% ‘strongly’/30% ‘tend to’) with the statement ‘Now Britain has left the European Union, other countries will follow’. Only 16% disagree (4% ‘strongly’/12% ‘tend to’), leaving half of Canadians (49%) undecided (‘neither agree nor disagree’). Canadian public opinion on the issue has barely shifted since before the Brexit referendum, when an Ipsos poll asked about a domino effect in a hypothetical Brexit scenario. At that time, one in three Canadians agreed (5% ‘strongly’/30% ‘tend to’) that it would lead to other EU countries holding their own referenda to leave the EU, while 14% disagreed (3% ‘strongly’ / 11% ‘tend to’) and half (53%) neither agreed nor disagreed.
Limited Impact on Canadians
The majority of Canadians feel indifferent towards Brexit: two in three (66%) say they feel neither happy nor sad about the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. More than one in four (27%) feel sad about the referendum outcome, and only 6% say they feel happy about it.
This feeling of indifference also extends to Canadians’ views about the future: while one in three (36%) feel more worried about the future and just 8% feel more hopeful about the future in light of the UK’s decision to leave the EU, more than half (56%) feel neither.
The UK’s vote to leave the EU doesn’t seem to have impacted many Canadians’ plans for vacations or shopping in Britain: only 12% say they are less likely to visit the UK on holidays, and just 9% say they are less likely to buy British goods or services as a result of the vote.
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between June 24 and July 8, 2016. For this survey, a sample of 1,003 Canadians from Ipsos' online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/ - 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
For more information on this news release, please contact:
Darrell Bricker, PhD
Ipsos Public Affairs
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