An article in The Economist this summer says:

The gridlock in Parliament, where mps have been caught between loyalty to their constituents, their party and the instruction of the referendum, has undermined faith in politics. The Hansard Society, a research body, finds that 37% believe the system needs a “great deal” of change—ten points more than the previous record, in 2010, when mps were mired in an expenses scandal. Willingness to contact an mp has fallen; willingness to march or join a picket has risen. More than half agree that “Britain needs a strong leader who is willing to break the rules.”

It's not clear if that last sentence points to a trend though. Are there any UK polls over multiple points time, preferably spanning the Brexit referendum vote, that shed more light on this? Basically, has the UK electorate shown an increasing preference over the last decade for some flavor of strongman rule?

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    Strong leader does not have the same connotations as strongman
    – user19831
    Oct 10, 2019 at 19:59
  • @Displayname: "willing to break the rules" adds a connotation for the latter. But I concede, they didn't quite ask "willing to break the laws". Oct 10, 2019 at 21:41

1 Answer 1



Pre-Brexit means pre-June 2016 or pre-October 2019?

Over the last 20 years, parties like the BNP have found double digit support amongst WWC consituencies in the north of England. This comes after Major's Tories and New Labour and the massive unprecedented increase in mass-immigration since the late 90s.

These events arguably helped build up long-term support for leaving the EU (which only had minority interest when campaigns started against the Maastricht Treaty in 1992), and for "strongmen leaders", or "strong leaders".

Some might consider that when Mr Blair was described as "presidential" that this was a euphemism for a kind of "crypto-strongman"; similarly one might regard parties that form around a personality, such as Farage (or Macron in France) as another such manifestation. There doesn't seem to be much polling on the specific question you have asked in the timeframe you seem to describe. It seems that there is some inclarity about whether we're talking about a "strongman leader" or a "strong leader", which you may want to clarify.

  • Title was corrected to "pre-Brexit-referendum" just as you posted this, so pre-June 2016.
    – F1Krazy
    Oct 10, 2019 at 14:03

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