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Public opinion in the post-Brexit era: Economic attitudes in modern Britain

A landmark study of public opinion in the UK post the General Election has found that there is widespread support for Labour’s nationalisation agenda and much less support for free enterprise.

Public opinion in the post-Brexit era: Economic attitudes in modern Britain —written by Matthew Elliott, a Senior Fellow at the Legatum Institute, and co-authored with Populus’ James Kanagasooriam— examines public attitudes towards capitalism and free markets in the post-Brexit era. It explores attitudes towards enterprise, regulation, business, banks, nationalisation, capitalism and socialism, and examines the contention that free-market capitalism is in crisis.

The findings are based on a landscape poll conducted at the end of the summer by Populus, which indicates that the majority of the British public:

  • More than 4 in 10 (42%) choose ‘greedy’ as one of their top 3 associations with capitalism
  • Those aged 35 and older are more – not less – likely to label capitalism ‘greedy’ and ‘corrupt’ and are slightly more anti-free enterprise than those who are younger
  • Public sentiment towards socialism is far more diverse and far less dominated by negative words than with capitalism
  • While Conservative voters are more positive about capitalism than Labour voters, they still associated it with greed, selfishness and corruption more than any thing else


View the full Public Opinion in the Post-Brexit Era report here

View the full Data Tables here


Populus conducted an online poll of 2,004 members of the public between 4 and 6 August 2017. The results were weighted to be nationally representative of the population as a whole. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Where respondents were asked to indicate the extent to which they agreed more with one statement over another, the order in which the statements were shown was randomised to remove bias. Some question wordings have been shortened for readability; for the full wording, please consult the full data tables. Further information at populus.co.uk

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