Brexit Poll: Fears Over Long-term Economic Impact Drive Uncertainty

LONDON (24 August 2016) – With the precise timing and form of the UK’s exit from the European Union still to be determined, a new poll highlights the complex environment facing corporate communicators. While results show considerable pessimism about the personal economic impact of realizing Brexit, there is also a clear need for companies to highlight their ongoing commitment to the UK.

The poll, by APCO Insight, the opinion research consultancy at APCO Worldwide, found a 19-point gap between those who feel they will be worse off on leaving the EU (37%) and those who feel they will benefit (18%). A further quarter (27%) predict no change, with 20% unable to offer an answer.

Fears over the personal impact of Brexit could be linked to pessimistic views of the business climate, with more predicting negative rather than positive economic consequences for both UK-headquartered businesses and multinationals operating in the UK.  In a follow-up question, the main worries expressed were around the relocation of jobs abroad (37%), and foreign companies choosing to invest less in the UK (34%). Only a small proportion (13%) said they were wary of house prices falling.

James Acheson-Gray, managing director of APCO Worldwide’s London office said of the results:  “A lot of the post-referendum focus has been on the immediate economic impact, but we wanted to take a longer-term view. The considerable uncertainty over what happens when the country leaves the EU actually represents a communications opportunity. There is a chance for companies with a large footprint to underscore their commitment to maintaining jobs in the UK. Multinationals should also emphasize the scale of their investment. It has never been more important to highlight the role of the private sector in driving the British economy forward.”

Chris Levy, European Director of APCO Insight added: "It is particularly interesting that the public’s main concerns are not those we see reported the most in the media. House prices are a good example – we see a lot of stories about the impact here: yet it is the long-term effects that worry people the most. They need to hear from larger companies that they aren’t going to pull the plug on the UK. 

Methodological Note

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 1,690 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 4th - 5th August 2016.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+)

For more information on the poll results, watch James Acheson-Gray discuss the findings in the following video:

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About APCO Worldwide

APCO Worldwide is a global communication consultancy. We help the most innovative organizations adapt and thrive in this fast-moving, interconnected and complex world, enabling them to reach their business and societal goals. We bring our clients' work to life creatively and digitally through diverse thinking and a campaign mentality that is not limited by any particular service or discipline, but embraces a variety of integrated tactics to achieve success. APCO is a majority employee- and women-owned business. 

About APCO Insight

APCO Insight is the full-service global opinion research group at APCO Worldwide. We deploy sophisticated qualitative and quantitative research methodologies to inform strategic communications. With experience in more than 70 countries, APCO Insight works with the world’s leading companies, associations, nonprofits and public-sector enterprises to turn reliable research data into actionable recommendations that enable our clients to engage their stakeholders and achieve success.