Business and Brexit: The risks of taking a stance

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British adults think that businesses should be involved in the EU referendum debate – but that doesn’t mean they will trust them. When asked whether different types of business should take part in the EU referendum campaign, support was high for British businesses to participate by publicly backing one side or the other, especially SMEs. However, this does not necessarily mean the public trust what big businesses say on the issues.

The new survey finds three-quarters (75%) of the public say that small and medium-size British businesses should participate in the debate – more than say the same for other groups such as academics (68%), think tanks (54%) and newspapers (52%). The contributions of SMEs are more welcome than those of big businesses – but still nearly seven in ten (69%) of British adults are happy for big British businesses which trade internationally to make their opinion on Brexit known. However, while three-fifths (57%) say that they trust small business owners on issues relating to the referendum, leaders of large businesses fare worse, being trusted on the issues by just three in ten (29%).

Veröffentlicht in: Business
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Business and Brexit: The risks of taking a stance

  1. Is it worth getting involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Public © 2016 Ipsos. All rights reserved. Contains Ipsos' Confidential and Proprietary information and may not be disclosed or reproduced without the prior written consent of Ipsos. 1 #IpsosMORILive Business & Brexit The risks of taking a stance
  2. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Gideon Skinner Research Director Ipsos MORI
  3. Is it worth getting involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential 3 There are three characteristics of the public’s attitudes to Britain’s membership of the EU changeable, ignorant, and half hearted Hugo Young, This Blessed Plot
  4. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Source: Ipsos Reputation Centre Ignorant? At least rarely relevant… What do you see as the most/other important issues facing Britain today? 0 10 20 30 40 May 1997 Jul 1998 Sep 1999 Nov 2000 Jan 2002 Mar 2003 May 2004 Jul 2005 Sep 2006 Nov 2007 Jan 2009 Mar 2010 May 2011 Jul 2012 Sep 2013 Nov 2014 Jan 2016 Cameron becomes PM Lowest score recorded (1%) UKIP come first in European Parliament elections Treaty of Accession: 10 new EU Member States France and Holland reject ratification of EU constitution Highest score since June 2003 (23%) Between 2005 and 2015 on average 5% said EU was important issue Base: representative sample of c.1,000 British adults age 18+ each month, interviewed face-to-face in home Source: Ipsos MORI Issues Index 4
  5. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Source: Ipsos Reputation Centre Changeable? If there were a referendum now on whether Britain should stay in or get out of the European Union, how would you vote? Base: 504 British adults, 18+, 13th – 16th February 2016 Source: Ipsos MORI Political Monitor 5 26% 60% 63% 52% 49% 53% 51% 41% 61% 51% 65% 29% 27% 36% 35% 32% 39% 49% 27% 36% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% Feb-78 Feb-80 Feb-82 Feb-84 Feb-86 Feb-88 Feb-90 Feb-92 Feb-94 Feb-96 Feb-98 Feb-00 Feb-02 Feb-04 Feb-06 Feb-08 Feb-10 Feb-12 Feb-14 Feb-16 Stay in Get Out
  6. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Source: Ipsos Reputation Centre Half-hearted? What does the EU mean to you personally? Source: Standard Eurobarometer 84 Public Opinion in the EU – Autumn 2015 6 49 35 27 26 25 24 23 22 19 16 14 14 14 9 41 11 17 25 22 30 23 19 15 11 11 15 22 9 Freedom to travel, study & work anywhere in the EU Euro Peace Cultural diversity Waste of Money Not enough control at external borders Bureaucracy Stronger say in the world Democracy More crime Unemployment Economic Prosperity Loss of our cultural identity Social protection EU 28 UK
  7. Is it worth getting involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential 8 2016 Europe
  8. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Source: Ipsos Reputation Centre 49% 39% 8% 3% *% ALL GIVING A VOTING INTENTION ALL 9/10 AND ALWAYS/USUALLY VOTE Remain still has the advantage – but turnout makes it hard to call QA) As you may know the United Kingdom will have a referendum on its membership of the European Union on the 23rd of June this year. How will you vote on the question – should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union? QB) If undecided/refused) which way would you be most inclined to vote? Base: 1,026 British adults 18+, 16th – 18th April 2016 Source: Ipsos MORI Political Monitor 9 Remain Leave Undecided Would not vote Refused 50% 44% 6%1%*%
  9. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Source: Ipsos Reputation Centre Who is voting to remain/leave? Base: 1,026 British adults 18+, 16th – 18th April 2016 Source: Ipsos MORI Political Monitor 10 50% 22% 23% 98% 47% 32% 30% 34% 51% 35% 44% 42% 67% 65% 2% 46% 52% 57% 54% 34% 54% 44% Con Lab LibDem UKIP Men Women 18-34 35-54 55+ ABC1 C2DE Leave Remain QA) As you may know the United Kingdom will have a referendum on its membership of the European Union on the 23rd of June this year. How will you vote on the question – should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union? QB) If undecided/refused) which way would you be most inclined to vote?
  10. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Source: Ipsos Reputation Centre Remain and leave voters motivated by very different issues Looking ahead to the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union on June 23rd, which, if any, issues do you think will be very important to you in helping you decide which way to vote? Base: 1,026 British adults 18+, 16th – 18th April 2016 (548 remain supporters, 379 Leave supporters) Source: Ipsos MORI Political Monitor 11 21% 47% 25% 20% 9% 8% 16% 40% 14% 7% 8% 15% 14% 4% Impact on Britain’s economy Number of immigrants coming into Britain Britain’s ability to make its own laws Cost of EU immigration on GB's welfare system Impact on British jobs Britain’s ability to trade with countries in EU Cost of EU membership fees Unprompted – top responses only Remain supporters Leave supporters
  11. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Source: Ipsos Reputation Centre Could people be persuaded to change their vote? You said that you would vote for the UK to remain in/leave the EU. Now thinking about the issue you said was most important to you, if you were persuaded that on that issue it would be best for Britain to leave/stay in the EU, how likely, if at all, would you be to change your mind and vote to leave/remain in the EU? Base: British adults 18+ expressing an EU voting intention and an important reason (457 remain supporters, 327 leave), 16th – 18th April 2016 Source: Ipsos MORI Political Monitor 12 Would definitely change my vote Would probably change my vote Would probably not change my vote Would definitely not change my vote Don’t know 7% 27% 25% 36% 4% REMAIN VOTERS LEAVE VOTERS 5% 21% 20% 50% 4%
  12. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Source: Ipsos Reputation Centre Both sides think they are going to win… Thinking ahead to the referendum on European Union membership, which of the following outcomes do you think is most likely? Base: 560 remain supporters and 337 leave supporters aged 18+, 13th – 16th February 2016 13 Ipsos MORI Political Monitor Britain will vote to remain a member of the European Union Britain will vote to leave the European Union Don’t know 77% 13% 10% REMAIN VOTERS LEAVE VOTERS 43% 48% 9%
  13. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Source: Ipsos Reputation Centre Although few doubts among Captains of Industry As you may know, the government has pledged to hold a referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union by 2017 Base: British Captains of Industry (102) Interviewed Sept – Dec 2015 14 Which outcome of the referendum do you think would be best for your business? And which outcome would you personally prefer? And if there were a referendum now on whether Britain should stay in or leave the European Union, how would you vote? UK staying in/Stay in UK leaving/Get out Don’t know Refused 87% 7% 4% 2% 87% 7% 3% 3% 83% 12% 2%3%
  14. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Carl Phillips Research Director Ipsos MORI
  15. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Is it worth getting involved?
  16. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential 1) Does anyone want business to get involved in the referendum debate? 2) Will the public listen or trust business if they do get involved? 3) What will be the impact of getting involved? I am going to answer three questions you may have: 17
  17. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Source: Ipsos Reputation Centre 47% 42% 32% 27% 23% 15% 13% 68% 16% 42% 26% 19% 28% 10% Government ministers Backbench MPs Large businesses and corporations Shadow ministers Trade and business associations High profile CEOs/ business leaders Politicans from the devolved assemblies MPs and Journalists want business to take a leading role And which two or three of those should take a LEADING ROLE in the EU referendum campaign? %TOPMENTIONS All MPs All Business & Finance Journalists Large business and corporations Trade and business associations Base: All MPs (108) and all B&F Journalists (88) asked, Winter 2015 18 High profile CEOs / business leaders
  18. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Source: Ipsos Reputation Centre 75% 69% 68% 68% 61% 57% 54% 52% 52% 51% Small and medium-sized British businesses Big British businesses which trade internationally Academics Big British businesses which only trade in the UK Trade union officials Big European businesses which trade in the UK Think tanks Newspapers Local councils Bankers And the public are also keen Who should take part in the EU referendum campaign by publicly backing one side or the other? Base: All respondents (2007) 19 Big British businesses which trade internationally Big British businesses which only trade in the UK Big European businesses which trade in the UK Small and medium-size British businesses
  19. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Source: Ipsos Reputation Centre 20 “Remain” want a broader debate Who should take part in the EU referendum campaign by publicly backing one side or the other? 80% 74% 78% 63% 76% 63% 71% 68% 70% 48% Remain Leave Base: Remain (842), Leave (816), Small and medium-size British businesses Big British businesses which trade internationally Big British businesses which only trade in the UK Academics Big European businesses which trade in the UK
  20. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential But can you influence anyone? So business has license to contribute to the debate Base: 21
  21. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Source: Ipsos Reputation Centre All who have decided how to vote (1658) 22 Firstly, who can you reach? 73% of the public claim to have made up their mind on the referendum already 23% say their might still change their mind
  22. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Source: Ipsos Reputation Centre Banking and media may want to sit this one out Base: All respondents (2007) 23 Which industry sectors, if any, do you trust the least when it comes to the EU referendum? 36% said the Banking industry 28% said the Media (e.g. Print, Television and Radio)
  23. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Source: Ipsos Reputation Centre 73% 66% 64% 46% 46% 36% 36% 31% 29% 26% 16% 12% Friends and family Academics Small business owners Work colleagues The ordinary man/woman in the street My immediate manager at work Leaders of large businesses The head of my company Civil servants Trade union officials Journalists Politicians generally There are trust issues… Who do you trust on issues relating to the referendum on EU membership? Base: May change mind (388) 24 May change my mind Leaders of large business
  24. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Source: Ipsos Reputation Centre …which vary according to stance Base: All respondents (2007), Remain (842), Leave (816) 25 Who do you trust on issues relating to the referendum on EU membership? Top 3 72% 69% 55% Friends and family Academics Small business owners Remain 77% 63% 57% Friends and family Small business owners The ordinary man/woman in the street Leave Leaders of large business 35% 24%
  25. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential But what about those who have already got involved? Trust issues are potentially a barrier to businesses contributing effectively Base: 26
  26. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Source: Ipsos Reputation Centre Lord Wolfson, the CEO of Next, wrote an article in the Telegraph newspaper calling for Britain to leave the European Union. All who have at least heard of Next from split sample (986) 27 8% of the British public were aware Lord Wolfson wrote this
  27. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Source: Ipsos Reputation Centre Base: All who have at least heard of Next from split sample, Remain (433), Leave (387) 28 Remain Leave 1% 24% 35% 4% 58% 66% I’m more favourable towards them I feel the same way about them I’m less favourable towards them Has your opinion of Next changed?
  28. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Source: Ipsos Reputation Centre Have you taken action against a business you disagreed with? Which, if any, of the following have you ever done as a result of hearing that a company has behaved in a way that you disagree with? 29 30% - I have boycotted a company and never gone back to that company again 22% - I have written to a company to complain 20% - I have recommended that others boycott a company 57% have taken at least one form of action Base: All respondents (2007)
  29. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Source: Ipsos Reputation Centre Base: All who have at least heard of Next from split sample (986) 30 1% of the British public are aware that Lord Wolfson wrote that letter and say that they will take some form of action against Next
  30. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Source: Ipsos Reputation Centre Base: All who have at least heard of Next from split sample, Remain (433), Leave (387), Undecided (191) 31 8% 86% 2% 4% REMAIN 85% 10% 5% 1% 89% 6% 4% UNDECIDEDLEAVE Does hearing the CEO of Next’s opinion on the EU referendum have any influence on how you would vote? It makes me more likely to vote to remain It makes no difference It makes me more likely to vote to leave Don’t know
  31. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Source: Ipsos Reputation Centre Base: All who have at least heard of EasyJet from split sample (991) 32 13% of the British public were aware Dame McCall did this Dame Carolyn McCall, the Chief Executive of EasyJet, was one of 200 business leaders who signed a letter to the Times newspaper saying that they believed that Britain would be better off staying in the European Union.
  32. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Source: Ipsos Reputation Centre Base: All who have at least heard of EasyJet from split sample, Remain (412), Leave (416) 33 How has your opinion of EasyJet as a company changed? Remain Leave 15% 2% 1% 31% 76% 63% I’m more favourable towards them I feel the same way about them I’m less favourable towards them
  33. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Source: Ipsos Reputation Centre Base: All who have at least heard of EasyJet from split sample (991) 34 1% of the British public are aware that Dame Carolyn signed this letter and say that they will take some form of action against EasyJet
  34. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Source: Ipsos Reputation Centre Base: All who have at least heard of EasyJet from split sample, Remain (412), Leave (416), Undecided (188) 35 9% 87% 4% REMAIN 1% 82% 13% 4% 7% 87% 3% 3% UNDECIDEDLEAVE Does hearing the CEO of EasyJet’s opinion on the EU referendum have any influence on how you would vote? It makes me more likely to vote to remain It makes no difference It makes me more likely to vote to leave Don’t know
  35. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Source: Ipsos Reputation Centre Base: All who have at least heard of BMW or Rolls Royce (1971) 36 18% of the British public were aware BMW had said this BMW, which owns Rolls Royce and Mini, sent an email to its car workers in the UK saying that the company gets a “significant benefit” from being part of the European Union and that leaving the EU could affect its UK employees.
  36. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Source: Ipsos Reputation Centre Base: All who have heard of BMW or Rolls Royce, Remain (831), Leave (806) 37 Remain Leave 19% 2% 7% 45% 69% 47% I’m more favourable towards them I feel the same way about them I’m less favourable towards them How has your opinion of BMW as a company changed?
  37. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Source: Ipsos Reputation Centre Base: All who have at least heard of BMW or Rolls Royce (1971) 38 2% of the British public are aware that BMW wrote this and say that they will take some form of action against BMW
  38. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Source: Ipsos Reputation Centre Base: All who have at least heard of BMW or Rolls Royce, Remain (831), Leave (806), Undecided (379) 39 9% 86% 1%4% REMAIN It makes me more likely to vote to remain It makes no difference It makes me more likely to vote to leave Don’t know 2% 79% 15% 4% 6% 85% 6% 3% UNDECIDEDLEAVE Does hearing BMW’s opinion on the EU referendum have any influence on how you would vote?
  39. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Source: Ipsos Reputation Centre While many people are keen to have business contribute to the referendum debate, the number who actually trust what business has to say is much lower 40 The public still don’t trust business much Right now it is limiting the ability of business to contribute
  40. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential … many people have made up their mind and changing it will be hard … Brexit supporters in particular are unlikely to be influenced easily … any intervention is going to annoy someone … but that annoyance is unlikely to damage you significantly (if at all) Base: 41 Contribute if you want but remember…
  41. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential To date, no company has committed 100% to the campaign If one did, they may well be able to exert more influence But probably at the cost of a greater negative response Base: 42
  42. Is It Worth Getting Involved? | April-May 2016 | Version 1 | Confidential Q&A

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