The United Kingdom’s expected exit from the Europe Union, aka Brexit, really hasn’t yet sunk into the consciousness of many Americans.
Just one in four Americans in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll say they have heard “a lot” about Brexit, while nearly a third claim to have heard nothing at all. It’s definitely more visible to those on both coasts, with people in the Northeast and the West paying more attention to Brexit than those who live in the middle of the country. But it’s also a partisan matter, at least when it comes to what Brexit means for the United Kingdom and the United States.
Overall, many can’t say for sure whether Brexit will be good or bad for the United Kingdom (or for the United States, for that matter). Considering that the United Kingdom is among Americans’ closest allies (nearly six in 10 describe it as an ally, and an additional 21 percent say it is a friendly country), many Americans aren’t paying much attention to the debate that has affected all of Europe.
However, Republicans and Democrats – especially those following news about Brexit – take very different views of what it will mean for the United Kingdom. Republicans say leaving the European Union will be a good thing for Great Britain, while Democrats disagree.
The partisan divide is even starker among those who have heard a lot about Brexit. Those Republicans who have been most attentive think Brexit will be good for the United Kingdom by more than ten to one. By nearly the same margin, Democrats think it will be bad.
But will it matter to the United States? That seems to depend on your politics. While fewer have an opinion on this question, Republicans tend to be optimistic, while Democrats are pessimistic. And those paying the closest attention are even more extreme in their positions.