Public Attitudes to Brexit Seminar
The Polis Research Network was pleased to host Professor Alex de Ruyter, Director of the Centre for Brexit Studies at Birmingham City University last month for a seminar on public attitudes to Brexit.
The session reported findings from an exploratory study between December 2017 & March 2018 entitled the “CBS Brexit Roadshow”. This consisted of a series of focus groups and individual interviews under the guise of “town hall” events in eight of the top ten estimated Leave voting constituencies (Hanretty, 2016), and an event in Birmingham (Sutton Coldfield). These focus group events were conducted in order to explore with members of the public, amongst other things: how they voted on the 23rd June 2016; why they voted the way they did; what the key underlying issues were; whether they felt “left behind” or disenfranchised, and; what they felt their identity was.
The results suggest that issues of identity and sovereignty were key, even to the seeming willingness to incur being economically worse-off in the pursuit of this, lending credence to notions of “identity” trumping “class” interests.