A new opinion poll has revealed that Britain has fallen in the eyes of more than half of Ireland’s population since its exit from the European Union.
63% of people say their view of Britain has changed since Brexit, and of those, 95% say it has changed for the worse.
Overall, this means that 59.8% think Britain has become smaller since the Brexit vote.
This month’s poll by The Good Information Project/Ireland Thinks asked respondents whether their view of Britain had changed since Brexit and whether it had changed for the better or for the worse.
For 34% of people, their opinions have not changed, and 2% do not know.
Two-thirds of women have a different opinion of Britain now than before, along with 60% of men; 97% and 93% of these men and women, respectively, said it had changed for the worse.
There is a changing perspective at about an equal level across all age groups, ranging from 60% to 64%, with the exception of 25-34 years old, of whom 70% said their view of Britain is different since Brexit.
Among political party affiliations, Green Party and Social Democrat voters are particularly likely to say their views on Britain have changed since Brexit by 86% and 75%, respectively.
This was followed by 65% of Fine Gael, 64% of Fianna Fáil, 62% of Sinn Féin, 61% of Pre-Profit people, and 57% of independent voters.
Only 38% of Onti voters said their view had changed, 72% indicated it had changed for the worse and 25% for the better. Of those who said it hadn’t changed, 53% felt it had stayed the same, and if pressed, 20% leaned toward saying it would have changed for the worse and 26% for the better.
“For some people, Brexit has had a greater impact on how they perceive Britain,” said Kevin Cunningham, founder of Ireland Thinks and lecturer at TU Dublin.
«These people are very similar to what would have been the UK’s ‘survival’ core demographic, or the sometimes unfairly vicious ‘urban liberal elite’,» Cunningham explained.
«That is, people with higher levels of education, people who live in Dublin, people aged 25-34, people with higher incomes, supporters of the Green Party or the Social Democrats,» he said.
These people are more likely to say that their view of Britain has changed because of Brexit.
«At the other end, we have more rural and older members of the public, who are more likely to support Onto, who are less affected by development.»
Ireland Thinks conducted a survey of a representative sample of 1,453 people between 3 and 5 December.
People with high incomes above €50,000 were more likely to say their views had changed (71%) than those with low incomes below €5,000 (38%)
Among those who said their views had changed, all those with incomes of less than 5,000 euros said it had changed for the worse, along with 95% of those with more than 50,000 euros.
Regionally, shifting views of Britain were more prevalent in Dublin (73%) than other parts of the country, 62% each in Leinster and Münster and 59% in Connacht and Ulster.
But among those whose opinions have changed, between 94% and 96% of each region said it has changed for the worse.
Talking to the magazineDr Etienne Tanam, a lecturer in international peace studies and expert on British-Irish relations at Trinity, said Ireland had taken a «special blow» in the wake of Brexit, although the effects are being seen «across the board» in the EU.
What I have noticed is negative rhetoric about Britain as a whole. Sometimes there is no distinction in the media between supporters of Brexit and the British government and then the people as a whole, because many were from the rest and young people would be different too.
«I also think there was an underlying negativity even before Brexit because of our history,» she said, noting that the general lack of research on attitudes toward Britain or England makes it difficult to have a baseline from which to draw comparisons.
In a way, I think Brexit ignited something that was there to some extent and made it worse in our case – understandably because we are directly affected by Brexit and it is clear that Northern Ireland is hardest hit.
‘I think the common island approach [a government campaign for cooperation on the island of Ireland] She said, based on comments made last year by President Michael D. Higgins about the need to reduce Anglophobia in Ireland.
«It’s very tame, not extreme, but sometimes it’s a negative outlook or a negative stereotype.»
She said improved relations between governments and between the European Union and the United Kingdom, as well as the decision of the Northern Ireland Protocol, could positively influence opinions.
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«I still think there is work to be done in our knowledge base of English and British and the unions as well, it’s something that probably needs to be educated about anyway, even after Brexit there is probably some ignorance among some people as there is so much in the Britain is ours.»
After voting to leave the European Union in 2016, Britain formally withdrew from the bloc on January 31, 2020, followed by a transition period that ended at the end of the year.
Since then, it has been the main sticking point in post-Brexit talks Northern Ireland Protocol, which allows the passage of goods between the Republic and Northern Ireland, and instead places checks in the Irish Sea.
Britain has expressed its displeasure with the arrangement, saying it impedes the flow of trade with Northern Ireland, leading to months-long talks between its negotiators and the European Union, although no consensus has yet been reached.
Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said that reaching an agreement on the protocol before Christmas is ‘Unrealistic at this point’.
This work is co-financed By Journal Media and grant program from the European Parliament. Any opinions or conclusions expressed in this work are those of the author. The European Parliament does not participate in and assumes no responsibility for the editorial content published by the project. For more information, see here.
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