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Her support was highest among Conservative voters who are “bregretful”.

Theresa May’s support highest among 'Bregretful' Conservatives

New Prime Minister Theresa May has expressed her commitment to Brexit, but she is liked most by Conservative voters who regret voting to leave, a new survey suggests.

Researchers from the University of Exeter have carried out work to measure what voters think of Mrs May, and have found this differs according to their views on Britain remaining in the European Union.

Her support was highest among Conservative voters who are “bregretful”. They were asked if they liked or disliked Mrs May.

Among the general voting age population her approval is estimated to be between 4.5 and 4.76 on a ten point scale. Upon focusing on subgroups of voters, the researchers learnt that, of those who voted Conservative at the 2015 General Election, her rating is consistently higher, between 6.27 and 6.69.

Using a statistical model, they also estimated approval broken down by how people voted in the referendum, and by those who expressed regret over how they voted. They found that for the group of Conservatives who voted for Brexit but now regret it, her approval rate rises to 8.44.

The experts also found no evidence that the approval rates of the new Prime Minister differ between men and women voters, after accounting for the effect of partisanship and the referendum vote.

The Voteadvice team from the University of Exeter and social enterprise Kieskompas surveyed 2,251 people between 28 June and 10 July. A total of 519 of them voted Conservative at the 2015 General Election. Using modelling allowed the researchers to adjust the results so they worked with a sample size which reflected the makeup of the UK.

The model tested by the team predicts Mrs May’s support on a 10-point scale, as a function of respondents' referendum vote, discarding participants who did not vote, as well as whether they regret their vote choice.

Laszlo Horvath, who worked on the survey, said: “It seems as if Theresa May’s support for Brexit is at odds with the views of her popular support.”

Respondents from the survey are from all 12 regions of the UK, and represent all ages. Because those who opted to take the online survey are likely to be young, and politically interested, adjustments were made to account for other sources of selection bias. Weights were computed for geographic and demographic variables, as well as for political interest, labour force status, and the outcome of the 2016 Brexit referendum, including turnout.

Date: 26 July 2016

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