Analysis papers

Has Brexit been a success? The public’s perspective

This paper assesses the success, so far as public opinion is concerned, of the EU referendum held five years ago this month. Using a unique collection of NatCen Panel surveys conducted throughout the last five years, it examines first of all whether individual voters have changed their minds about Brexit and whether collectively there has […]

Was the 2019 General Election a success?

The election held on December 12th 2019 was one of the most important in British history. It was precipitated when the Liberal Democrats and the SNP agreed to support the Conservative government’s call for a general election that was intended to end a parliamentary stalemate over whether and how Brexit should proceed. The outcome – […]

Has Brexit gone off the boil? Or are the embers of Brexit still glowing?

Following the Conservatives’ success in winning the December 2019 general election, the UK left the European Union at the end of January 2020. The country is now scheduled to exit the single market and the customs union at the end of this year, by which point it is intended that an agreement will have been […]

Public Attitudes towards a No Deal Brexit

The arrival of Boris Johnson in Downing St has resulted in a marked change of tone in the debate about Brexit. The new administration has signalled that, if it is unable to secure a new Brexit deal by the scheduled date for the UK’s departure of 31 October, it will leave the EU without a […]

Just 15 Months To Go: What Scotland Is Making of Brexit

The debate about Brexit has a particular resonance north of the border. Unlike England and Wales, where a majority voted to leave the EU, Scotland voted – by 62% to 38% – in favour of remaining in the EU. This report examines whether voters […]

Has Brexit Reshaped British Politics?

Despite the apparent ambiguity of the stances on Brexit adopted by the Conservatives and Labour, this report by John Curtice shows that voters’ views about Brexit did influence how people voted in the 2017 election – with implications for the values that were reflected in how people voted.

Does Scotland want a different kind of Brexit?

What kind of Brexit would voters in Scotland actually like to see? This new report by John Curtice provides the first in-depth examination of attitudes in Scotland towards a number of the issues that will have to be settled during the Brexit negotiations.

Hard – but not too hard: Much more on what voters want from Brexit

This new report by John Curtice assesses what ‘the people’ are hoping will emerge from the Brexit negotiations. We first reported on this issue last November, and this new report follows this work up with the findings of a second round of interviews that were conducted in recent weeks.

Understanding the Leave vote

What were the ‘real’ reasons behind the Brexit vote? The purpose of this report is to provide a high-level overview of the main findings from an analysis of the latest and highest quality data. We hope that it will stimulate debate, discussion and further research.

What do voters want from Brexit?

This paper reports on how a representative sample of voters responded to a wide range of questions on what they would like to be included in agreements negotiated between the UK and the EU.

The economics of Brexit in voters’ eyes

Or, Why the remain campaign failed.
This paper analyses what influenced people’s attitudes in the EU referendum towards the economic arguments for and against EU membership and considers the implications for the ensuing debate about the terms on which the UK should seek to leave.


Brexit: Voters' reactions and hopes

Join the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) and UK in a Changing Europe for a special Brexit webinar on the launch of NatCen’s 37th British Social Attitudes report.

Has Brexit damaged our politics? What shape will divisions over the UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU take? How do voters want Britain to use its newly acquired sovereignty? What kind of immigration, food and consumer policies would they now like to see?

Join our speakers as they respond to these questions and more on the launch of this year’s British Social Attitudes survey, the UK’s longest running survey of public opinion, revealing the attitudes of the population since 1983.

Date: Thursday 8th October

Time: 13.45-15.20

Please register here to reserve your place


  • Professor Robert Ford, Professor of Political Science, University of Manchester
  • Dr Ceri Davies, Director, NatCen Centre for Deliberative Research
  • Professor Sir John Curtice, Senior Research Fellow, National Centre for Social Research & UK in a Changing Europe and Professor of Politics, University of Strathclyde


  • Anand Menon, Director, UK in a Changing Europe and Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs, King’s College London

The event will be Guy Goodwin, Chief Executive of the National Centre for Social Research.

About the event

NatCen’s British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey is the UK’s longest running survey of public opinion, revealing the social, political and moral attitudes of the population since 1983. The 37th BSA report is being launched on 8th October, with additional chapters being released throughout the month.

Join John Curtice, Ceri Davies and Rob Ford for this launch day webinar as they unveil the findings of two key chapters on Brexit from this year’s BSA report.

One chapter examines the impact of the Brexit stalemate in the last parliament on public trust and confidence in how Britain is governed, as well as the public’s willingness to engage with the political system.

The second chapter reports new evidence on what policy choices voters are hoping the government will make when the UK leaves the EU single market at the end of the year.

A response will be given by Anand Menon of the UK in a Changing Europe initiative, through whom the research into Brexit was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

Brexit: What Britain Thinks

The deadline for concluding phase one of the Brexit process is almost upon us. The aim of the talks has been to reach an agreement on the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, as mandated by the majority vote to Leave in the June 2016 referendum. In practice, reaching an agreement has proven to be far from straightforward. So how have voters reacted to the attempts of politicians in London and Brussels to implement their instructions? Join us as Sir John shares insight into what Britain thinks.

Sir John will be launching survey findings on attitudes to Brexit from Britain’s first award-winning panel, tracking what people would like to emerge from the Brexit agreement, and how well they think the negotiations have been handled. He will also unveil the results from NatCen’s latest annual British Social Attitudes Survey on how divided the country has become in the wake of the Brexit process.

This event is kindly hosted by Liz Kendall MP and will take place in the Churchill Room, House of Commons, Westminster, London, SW1A 0AA on Tuesday 26th March at 8.30am – 10am. Tea, coffee and croissants will be served from 8:30am. The main presentation will begin promptly at 9:00am.


  • Nancy Kelley, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of the Policy Research Centre, NatCen


  • Professor Sir John Curtice, Senior Research Fellow at NatCen and UK in a Changing Europe
  • Respondent: Fraser Nelson, Editor of The Spectator

Are Expectations of Brexit Changing?

Since the EU referendum, NatCen has, as part of its project, periodically been tracking voters’ reactions to the Brexit process. To date five surveys have been conducted – in September 2016, February, July and October 2017 and, most recently, in June 2018 – using NatCen’s unique mixed mode random probability panel. Initially the surveys focused on what voters wanted to be included in the agreements between the UK and the EU, while more recently they have been examining how well they think the Brexit process is developing.

At this seminar Prof. Curtice presented the newly published findings from the latest survey. He focused in particular on whether (i) voters’ hopes for and expectations of Brexit have changed since the process began, and (ii) to what extent and how these hopes and expectations of Brexit are influencing voters’ views of the merits of leaving the EU.


  • Prof. Sir John Curtice, Senior Research Fellow, NatCen Social Research
  • Alex Deane, writer, political commentator and consultant, and former Chief of Staff to David Cameron

When: Wednesday 5 September, 9:00am – 11:00am

Where: NatCen Social Research, 35 Northampton Square, London EC1V 0AX

To download a copy of the slides from this event, please click here.

For all other queries please contact

Just 15 Months To Go: What Do Scots Make of Brexit?

The Scottish Parliament has important decisions to make as a result of Brexit, including deciding whether to grant a legislative consent motion to the EU Withdrawal Bill currently being considered by the UK Parliament and whether or not to pursue a second independence referendum.

There is, however, little detailed evidence on how the Scottish public think the Brexit process is being and should be handled, and this event will provide attendees with impartial evidence on how the public view some of the decisions they will have to take.

We are grateful to Patrick Harvie MSP for sponsoring this event.

Register here to book your place.


  • Date: Tuesday 9th January 2018
  • Time: 6-7pm
  • Venue: The Fleming Room, Scottish Parliament Building, Edinburgh EH99 1SP


  • Professor John Curtice, Senior Research Fellow, ScotCen Social Research and UK in a Changing Europe
  • Patrick Harvie MSP
  • Chair: Paul Bradshaw, Head of ScotCen

Brexit: The Public’s Half-Time Verdict (6 December 2017)

The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) invites you to a seminar at Westminster on the latest results from a unique survey tracking attitudes towards Brexit. This event is kindly sponsored by Ian Austin MP.


  • Professor John Curtice, Senior Research Fellow, NatCen and UK in a Changing Europe
  • Respondent: Stephen Kinnock MP, Member of the Select Committee on Exiting the European Union

The Brexit process is now at the half-time stage, at least so far as the timeline between the referendum and the proposed withdrawal date is concerned. But what do the public make of the process so far? Is there any evidence that they have changed their minds about what the Brexit deal should contain? Are there any signs of second thoughts about Brexit – or of greater support for leaving? And what impact is Brexit having on the pattern of party support?

These key questions will be addressed at a presentation by Prof. John Curtice of the latest wave of results from NatCen’s unique random probability sample that has been tracking attitudes towards Brexit since last year’s referendum.

Register here to reserve your place.

When and where

Date: 6th December 2017

Time: 1-2pm

Location: Committee Room 9, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

Scotland and Europe - The Public View (30 March 2017)

At the event, kindly hosted by Patrick Harvie MSP, Prof John Curtice will present findings from the most comprehensive survey yet of the kind of relationship with the EU that people in Scotland want in the wake of the UK-wide vote to leave the EU.

The seminar will also report on attitudes towards Scotland having a closer relationship with the EU than does the rest of the UK – and the impact of the Brexit debate on attitudes towards independence.

Reserve your place

Fill in this quick form to reserve your place.

When and where

Date: 30th March 2017

Time: 1-2pm

Location: The Fairfax Somerville Room, Scottish Parliament Building, Edinburgh, EH99 1SP


  • Professor John Curtice, Senior Research Fellow, NatCen and UK in a Changing Europe
  • Patrick Harvie MSP
  • Alex Neil MSP

Britain after Brexit - The Public View
(21 March 2017)

At the event, kindly sponsored by Ian Austin MP, Prof John Curtice will present findings on public attitudes to the kind of Brexit deal the UK should secure – everything from pesticides and water quality to university funding and workers’ rights. He will also set out public opinion on the crucial issues of free trade, immigration and contributions to the EU Budget.

Hilary Benn, Chair of the Parliament’s Brexit Committee, will respond to the findings and give his take on the politics of giving the public what they want.

Reserve your place

To register: Please fill in this quick form.

When and where

Date: 21st March 2017

Time: 1-2pm

Location: Committee Room 9, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

Brexplanations in the dock (7 December 2016)

Many theories and explanations have been advanced by commentators since the UK voted to leave the EU in June. Some argue that these reflect a major realignment of traditional political tribes, while others point to the way the Referendum campaigns were run.

This event in Westminster will showcase findings from the first major synthesis of high quality data on who voted which way and why. A panel discussion will follow, interpreting the findings and what they mean for the future of UK politics.

This event will help charities and interest groups understand how to reframe their policy positions and messaging in order to better reach both the public and major political parties. We will also discuss what kind of Brexit might be acceptable to the public in the light of their voting motivations.


  • Chuka Umunna (MP for Streatham)
  • Roger Harding (Shelter)
  • James Ball (Buzzfeed)
  • John Curtice (NatCen Social Research)


  • Kirby Swales, NatCen Social Research (presenting findings)
  • Nancy Kelley, NatCen Social Research (chair)

When: Wednesday 7 December, 10:00am – 11:30am

Where: St Matthew’s Conference Centre, 20 Great Peter St, Westminster, London SW1P 2BU

To register: Please fill out this form.

For all other queries please contact

What does Leave mean? (28 November 2016)

Half day conference from The UK in a Changing Europe

Former Vote Leave CEO Matthew Elliott will deliver a keynote speech giving his unique insider account of how and why the Leave campaign won the EU referendum and what this means now.

ITV News national editor Allegra Stratton will be chairing a panel with Professor John Curtice, Professor Matthew Goodwin, and Ben Page (Ipsos MORI) who will be discussing what we have learned about the vote to leave the EU and the public’s attitudes towards Brexit subsequently.

More details to be announced.

When: Monday 28 November. This is a half day conference. Doors open at 9am. The event will start promptly at 9:30am. A continental breakfast will be provided.

Where: British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, St. James’s, London SW1Y 5AH

To register: Please RSVP to

For all other queries please contact

What does Britain want from Brexit? (16 November 2016)

Kindly sponsored by Ian Austin MP, NatCen Social Research held a seminar at Westminster to discuss new research into what the British public want from Brexit.


The seminar looked at the latest findings from the NatCen Social Research What UK Thinks: EU project.

NatCen has carried out a new survey of the British public seeking to understand what they want from Brexit.

The survey uncovers how the public views:

•         Britain’s membership of the single market;

•         free movement of people;

•         what should happen to EU nationals already in Britain;

•         whether Britain should continue to abide by certain EU regulations.

Download the presentation

Can we believe the EU referendum polls?
(25 May 2016)

After the failure of the polls to predict the outcome of the General Election and online and phone polls so far painting rather different pictures of the referendum race, the veracity of opinion polls is under scrutiny as never before. Four weeks before the public is asked to decide on Britain’s membership of the EU, this event examined how far we should believe the Referendum polls.


  • Professor John Curtice, Senior Research Fellow, NatCen and The UK in a Changing Europe
  • Peter Kellner, commentator and former President of YouGov Tom Mludzinski, Director of Political Polling at ComRes

Download the presentation

Public attitudes to Brexit
(24 February 2016)

A new report from NatCen’s British Social Attitudes survey will be launched at Westminster. Based on data collected on the latest BSA survey, it will provide the most in depth look yet at what people think the consequences of leaving the EU would be and how, if Britain were to remain a member, they want the EU changed.


Download John Curtice’s presentation

Download Matthew Goodwin’s presentation

Which way could the EU Referendum go?
(2 December 2015)

Kindly sponsored by Ian Austin MP, NatCen Social Research held a seminar at Westminster on how the British public views the EU and what is likely to influence their vote in the referendum.


  • Professor John Curtice, Senior Research Fellow, NatCen
  • Rachel Ormston, Head of Social Attitudes, NatCen

Download the presentation