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Attitudes to Brexit – the Independent

More than half say Boris Johnson told more lies than the truth during Brexit campaign – Savanta ComRes for the Independent


  • Told more lies than the truth: Boris Johnson (57%); David Cameron (49%)
  • New EU Referendum voting intention: Become a member 44%; Not become a member 43%; Undecided/PNS 10%
  • HEADLINE EU Referendum voting intention: Become a member 51%; Not become a member 49%
  • Brexit has worsened UK economy (44%) and worsened UK’s global influence (39%)


More than half of UK adults (57%) say that Boris Johnson told more lies than the truth during the referendum campaign regarding what Brexit would be like, according to a new poll by Savanta ComRes for the Independent.

Just a quarter (26%) of people say that the current PM told the truth more than lies during the campaign in which he was a prominent member of Vote Leave. Even Leave voters are divided on how truthful the PM was during the campaign, with similiar proportions saying he told more lies than the truth (38%) and vice versa (39%).

Just under half (49%) of Britons say that David Cameron, the Prime Minister at the time, told more lies than the truth during the campaign.

The poll also finds that two in five (39%) say that a second referendum on EU membership should come in the next five years, although that sentiment is shared by only 15% of Leave voters.

If there was a second referendum, the poll finds that 51% say the UK should become a member of the European Union again, compared to 49% who say that the UK should not rejoin.

The poll also finds that voters have so far felt more downsides than benefits from EU withdrawal.

Asked what effect Brexit had so far had on the UK’s interests generally, two in five (38%) say it has been damaging, compared to a quarter (27%) who say it has improved them. Even among Leave voters, just 39% say that Brexit has so far been good for the UK’s interests, with 34% saying it has made no difference and fewer than one in five (18%) saying it has been harmful.

Judging whether Brexit had worsened or improved a range of aspects of British life, in every case respondents answered in the negative.

On the UK’s relations with its European neighbours, 59% say the situation has been worsened, compared to 14% who say it has been improved. On the availability of goods and services the split was 51-18, on the burden of bureaucracy on UK businesses and citizens 45-21, on the economy 44-24, on the UK’s control of its borders 43-23, on the unity of the four nations of the United Kingdom 41-21 and the UK’s global influence 39-23.

Despite this, the poll also finds the UK still split down the middle on Brexit, with around half saying the 2016 decision to leave the EU was right and wrong (46% for both).

Commenting on the findings, Chris Hopkins, Political Research Director at Savanta ComRes says,

“Despite the public thinking that overall there have so far been more downsides than benefits from EU withdrawal, the fact remains that the public are almost equally divided between thinking whether Brexit was right or wrong and on whether they think the UK should rejoin or stay out of the EU. Ultimately, whatever the legacy of Brexit in terms of its economic impact and how it affects Britain, the lasting legacy will be this somewhat irreversible divide that referendums tend to cause – and a second referendum, that many seem to still want, is unlikely to heal the divisions the 2016 referendum caused.”

Date Published: 31/12/2021

Client: The Independent


Methodology: Savanta ComRes interviewed 2,096 UK adults aged 18+ online from 10-12 December 2021. Data were weighted by age, sex, region and SEG. Savanta ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

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