Labour members demand a People’s Vote by a margin of more than 9 to 1 – YouGov poll - People's Vote

Labour members demand a People’s Vote by a margin of more than 9 to 1 – YouGov poll

A total of 86 per cent of Labour members support a People’s Vote on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations with just 8 per cent remaining opposed, according to a YouGov poll published at the start of the party conference in Liverpool. When “don’t knows” are excluded, the party’s rank-and-file now back giving the UK electorate a final say on the Brexit talks by 91 to 9 per cent.

  • A similar proportion of Labour members, 93 per cent, would vote to stay in the European Union if MPs give them the chance - with a mere 7 per cent saying they would support Brexit.
  • Today’s poll shows that 74 per cent of Labour members support a manifesto commitment for a People’s Vote with only 15 per cent opposed, figures which translate into a split of 83 to 17 per cent if “don’t knows” are excluded.

The poll of 1,054 Labour Party members will pile pressure on the Labour leadership to move further and faster towards backing a People’s Vote at its conference this week, where a record number of more than 100 motions have been submitted by grassroots activists and trade unions. 

The People’s Vote March for the Many, expected to number in the thousands, will take place in Liverpool on Sunday just hours before conference organisers meet to decide whether to allow a debate on a People’s Vote this week.

Demands for a tougher stance from Labour have been growing louder in recent weeks as Brexit negotiations descended into chaos, with big unions like the GMB backing a public vote and a poll last week showing the party would win 60 more seats at the next election if it adopted the policy. By a remarkable 99 to 0 per cent, Labour members now say that the Brexit negotiations have been a mess - with one per cent replying “don’t know”.

Although the party leadership has recently emphasised its preference for a General Election, the poll’s finding that members split by a ratio of almost five to one in favour of a manifesto commitment for a public vote shows there are no circumstances in which this issue will go away.

And the poll shows just how hard it will be for Labour to maintain its current position in support of a left-wing so-called “jobs-first” Brexit with a membership that craves a radical government.

A total of 89 per cent believe the party’s current policy of leaving the Single Market will be bad for jobs, with just three per cent disagreeing. And 90 per cent prioritise trading freely with Europe over controlling immigration with just seven per cent taking the opposite view. 

Labour members believe by:

  • 78 to 3 per cent that Brexit will make it harder rather than easier to end austerity.
  • 88 to 1 per cent that Brexit will weaken rather than strengthen workers’ rights.
  • 87 to 2 per cent that Brexit will weaken rather than strengthen environmental protection.
  • 90 to 5 per cent that the UK will get a bad rather than a good deal.
  • 91 to 3 per cent that Brexit will damage the economy.
  • 88 to 3 per cent that it will mean children are worse off than their parents.

Labour members are also increasingly hostile to politicians supporting Brexit.

  • A total of 97 per cent say that promises made by Leave campaigners will be broken with just 3 per cent disagreeing. 
  • Those arguing for Brexit are seen as standing for “the elite” by 66 per cent of party members, compared to 8 per cent who think they represent “ordinary people”.
  • Those opposed to Brexit are seen as representing “the elite” by just 12 per cent of members, with 58 per cent saying they represent “ordinary people”.

The overwhelming nature of these results were heralded by David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham and a leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, who said:

“Labour is a democratic party that under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership has given its members and supporters a bigger voice in how it is run than ever before. It is so important now, at this vital moment for our country and our communities, that our party listens to its members, listens to its voters and listens to those we need to convince if we are to have that radical Labour government we need.

“Supporting a People’s Vote is not only the democratic thing to do and the right thing to do – it is also how we can win. Now is the time for the party to unite around the demand to give this decision back to the people - not leave it to the Brexit elite of Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Michael Gove.”   

Peter Kellner, one of Britain’s most respected pollsters and a former president of YouGov, said:

“This poll is a game-changer. Previous surveys of Labour members have shown support for a public vote on the outcome of Brexit negotiations in the high 60s or 70s. But our poll showing that the membership splits by a margin of 9 to 1 in favour of a People’s Vote shows the front-bench is in danger of becoming cut-off from the grassroots on the biggest issue facing Britain. It is understandable that an opposition party will demand a General Election. But that does not solve the problem with three-quarters of party members saying they want a public vote.”   



Notes to Editors:

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 1,054 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 13th - 18th September 2018.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

The full fieldwork can be found here: