I have seen people (including actual politicians) state that since Brexit, the skepticism against the EU amongst member-nations has fallen, possibly due to what a fiasco Brexit has actually turned out to be.

Is this actually true? How is the general state of EU-skepticism in EU nations today compared to a couple of years ago, prior to Brexit? If there has been a change, what are the possible causes for that change, apart from just Brexit? (I wold imagine all of these questions are answerable through polls and elections).

  • 2
    I'll be amazed if you can get any non-opinionated answer to this. There might some polls out there, but it seems unlikely any would be reliable. And the polls would have to be from across the EU. I'll say this to start off: If the EU feels it has to retain its members by threat of punitive action, then the EU has far more serious underlying problems than just Brexit, which at best is merely a symptom.
    – ouflak
    Jan 31, 2019 at 16:04
  • 8
    @ ouflak I don't see the point of this comment. Punitive action? The Brexit negotiations aren't just about EU throwing a hissy fit. They've revealed the economic consequences of leaving the Union, they've revealed the difficulty and complexity of replacing the various treaties and regulations with new ones, etc. These are all things that the skeptics have claimed are minor issues easily solved, but Brexit is demonstrating that the opposite is true. Also, I don't understand why you say "it seems unlikely any (polls) would be reliable"... why? Why would they be any more unreliable than usual?
    – Marquee
    Jan 31, 2019 at 16:19
  • @Marquee, Perhaps I've gotten drawn into the emotional parts of this big debate a bit too much. I've seen many mention that the EU has to 'punish' the UK so as to send a message to other members about leaving. Even on this site as part of upvoted answers. The economic consequences don't quite exist yet as we haven't actually gotten past Brexit. So any actions taken to tie the UK into such-an-such agreement, or demand payments, etc... appear to many to be only founded on the idea that, "this is what you'll get if you try the same thing". Even a simple Google search will bear that out.
    – ouflak
    Feb 1, 2019 at 7:30
  • @Marquee, We seem to agree actually on polling. I also believe they will be as unreliable as usual. And I'm not sure there is any better way to get a general feel of the mood in a way to produce an answer to this question. So my little bit of input is that the appearance of 'punitive' measures by the EU will increase Euro scepticism for many in the UK, and outside the EU, but how do you measure that without some kind of poll? I also think that there will be a small but noticeable decrease within the EU, but again... poll?
    – ouflak
    Feb 1, 2019 at 7:33
  • 1
    @ouflak if you think dire threats of what will happen on leaving indicate that one must leave, I'd be interested to see your position on Scottish independence. Many of the same people who say no border is needed in Ireland said a hard border would be necessary with Scotland...
    – pjc50
    Feb 5, 2019 at 7:38

1 Answer 1


UK favorability of Brexit over time

YouGov has published 60 polls about Brexit approval over the course of more than 2 years.

  • In the earliest poll, the leave vote was about 1 percentage point higher than the remain vote.
  • In a poll from over 1 year ago, people responded that the UK was right to leave at about 1 percentage point higher than responding that it was wrong to leave.
  • In a poll from 6 months ago, 53% of respondents stated that they want to remain, compared to 47% that want to leave.
  • In the latest poll, 56% of respondents stated that they would like to remain in the EU, compared to 44% stating that they would like to leave.

It seems that in the past year or so, more people are increasingly switching from a Leave preference to a Remain preference. This might be due to increasing awareness that Russia conducted an information warfare campaign to influence the initial Brexit vote. Or it might be due to increasing awareness that there will be financial and institutional consequences to leaving the EU.

EU Members' approval of the EU over time

The following article from the polling website pewglobal suggests that EU Member approval of the EU has increased since Brexit. As you will see in the graphic, many member nations' approval of the EU has increased since Brexit, except for Italy.

enter image description here

I would conclude that Euroskepticism has clearly declined throughout the EU since Brexit, except in Italy.

Euroskepticism in Italy

This politico article states that younger generations in the EU perceive the EU more favorably than older generations; and that it is the reverse in Italy. Italy has had economic stagnation and political crisis throughout the twenty-first century, and poor employment prospects for younger workers. Italy is also affected greater by the EU policy of asylum seekers settling into the first safe country they enter. These are apparently reasons why younger Italians are more Euroskeptic than older Italians. This article says that...
- Italians under age 45 prefer 46% to Remain and 51% to Leave.
- Italians age 45+ prefer 68% to Remain and 26% to Leave.

  • Great answer. But would you put money on it? telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/24/… If every country were to hold a vote in 6 weeks, enough time for campaigning, how reliable would anyone say these polls were to the actual results of those various referendums? How many 'shocks' would we get? I don't see any better way to get this kind of information than the polls, but I was pretty firmly convinced how the sides I voted for were going to perform in Brexit and the U.S. election. Clearly these are transient snapshots at best.
    – ouflak
    Feb 1, 2019 at 7:55
  • And I'm not even convinced that they are very good snapshots of the majority (general population) or the electorate (those who actually vote). I myself have had the experience(s) of pollsters calling up and asking as their first question, "What is your political affiliation?". When I didn't give an answer, "Republican" or "Democrat", they simply hung up. This skewed their results and this type of behavior is reported across the political spectrum. Not only that, but the media tends to take a side, and so you are more likely find from searches the polls that they agree with.
    – ouflak
    Feb 1, 2019 at 8:09
  • 5
    @outflak I don't think there's any value to what you're saying. "Don't trust the polls" has been a constant drumbeat at Trump rallies, and his supporters echo it many times. But polling data is not that inaccurate. The claim that polls were far off on the 2016 presidential election has already been refuted elsewhere. If you aren't going to do a serious analysis of the accuracy of all polls, then this is also an example of cherry-picking fallacy. Ultimately, the position of "we can't ever know anything from polls" is not helpful in the pursuit of information.
    – John
    Feb 1, 2019 at 18:35
  • All I'm saying is that these polls are all that we've got, and to answer the question, there's really nothing else to go with. What I'm also saying is that the polls don't necessarily reflect how much 'eurosceptism' there is and to what degree. In particular, to what degree it might lead to another <*insert country abbreviation*>exit'. They might be close, well within their margins for error. But they might be so far off as to not reflect what's really happening, especially with the media taking sides. I'm not dismissing the polls, just doubting if you can answer the question with them.
    – ouflak
    Feb 2, 2019 at 10:17
  • And it wasn't just the Trumpsters blowing the 'polls are off' tune. When the media started reporting that that 2016 election, and the Referendum polls, were starting to 'tighten up', a lot of the rest of us, speaking anectdotally, just assumed it's the media trying to create drama where there was none so people would tune in to watch their coverage. That was a distrust of the media, which is in it for entertainment, as much as the polls. While they were correct, even they began to admit their own bias, that I mentioned earlier, on those occassions, that maybe the polls were missing something.
    – ouflak
    Feb 2, 2019 at 10:25

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .