What lies behind our attitudes towards Europe? This paper addresses this question using
newly published data from the latest British Social Attitudes survey. It reveals that while
scepticism about the EU and a wish to curb its powers are widespread, reflecting not least a concern about the cultural consequences of EU membership, this does not necessarily translate into support for leaving the EU. For that to happen voters also need to be convinced of the economic benefits of exiting.
Scepticism does not necessarily mean support for withdrawal
While 65% are sceptical about the EU, and want it to have less power, only 30% support Britain’s
withdrawal from the EU.
Bad for identity, good for the economy?
Nearly half agree that being a member of the EU is ‘undermining Britain’s distinctive identity’ but
only around a quarter think Britain’s economy would be better off if we left the EU.
Economic consequences are key
Amongst those who do think Britain’s economy would be better off if we left the EU, 72% support
withdrawing. In contrast, amongst those who believe the economy would be worse off, just 6%