Brexit Has Caused UK Young Adults to Lose Faith in Politics
With Brexit on the horizon, how are young people in the UK feeling about the country’s decision to leave the EU? As part of a broader exploration of how young people in Europe feel about the EU and the European Parliament, we conducted an online survey with 18 to 34 year olds in the UK, in late March/early April, to find out. Here’s what we learned:
The majority say they voted in the referendum. Almost all (97%) know the UK will be leaving the EU and 74% said they voted.
If they could vote today, most would choose to remain in the EU. More than two-thirds (68%) would vote to remain, while 26% would vote to leave. Some who originally voted to leave may have regrets – among this group, 23% would now vote to remain.
They’re disappointed with the UK government’s handling of the Brexit process. The vast majority of young people in the UK think their government has managed this process badly (78%) and around two thirds (68%) say they’ve lost faith in politics as a result. While those who voted to remain (Remainers) and those who voted to leave (Leavers) agree that the process has been handled poorly (84% and 76%, respectively), Remainers are more likely than Leavers to say they’ve lost faith in politics (79% vs. 61%).
More than half think that Brexit will weaken the UK economy and leave them with fewer opportunities. In all, 61% of UK young people believe that leaving the EU will weaken their economy, while 54% expect to have fewer opportunities in the future. Of course, Remainers are more likely to express these concerns – but even among Leavers, around a quarter share these worries (28% believe the economy will be weaker and 24% think they’ll have fewer opportunities).
Some see benefits when it comes to immigration and jobs. More than half of young people think that leaving the EU will give the UK more control over immigration (54%). Four in ten believe that more jobs will be available for British people in the UK (39%). Unsurprisingly, Leavers are more likely to expect positive outcomes. But even among Remainers, there is some agreement about these benefits (51% of Remainers believe there will be more jobs for British people and 39% think the UK will have more control over immigration).