Is Brexit a Reflection of What is to Come?

The Brexit vote appears to have caught some leaders and pundits off guard. But it shouldn’t have, especially given that trust in government/leadership worldwide has dropped 7 points since 2012.

Furthermore, a majority of citizens worldwide believe their governments/leaders are in power for themselves, while only about four-in-ten believe that their governments/leaders are in touch, are genuinely concerned about the lives of citizens, are trustworthy, and share their values.

So, our data suggests that Brexit might just be the tip of the iceberg, foretelling of the potential for significant social and political upheaval in the short and medium-term.

Canada is among the few countries worldwide that does not have a citizenry driven by skepticism and clamouring for change. Two-thirds believe that their current government/leadership is genuinely concerned, is in touch with the mood of citizens, and is trustworthy.  Canadians with higher education, lower income, millennials, and residents of Atlantic Canada and BC are among the groups least likely to want leadership change in Canada.

Looking south of the border, and not surprising given the evolving political situation in the U.S., opinions on government in the U.S. are much more divided and skeptical than opinions in Canada.  Globally, a majority of citizens question the motives of their government/leaders, while only a minority believe their government/leaders are in touch, are genuine, are trustworthy and reflect their values.   Particularly noteworthy is the decline in being perceived as genuine and trust since 2012.

Chart1

Question: Thinking about your current primary leader and the national government they preside over, please indicate if you very much agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree or very much disagree with the following statements about that person and/or the government they represent

The skepticism about government translates into a majority of citizens in almost all countries believing that their current government/leadership should be replaced.  However, it is noteworthy that a few countries, including Canada, buck this trend. Only a minority in Canada, along with Japan, Russia and Argentina, believe that their current government/leadership should be replaced.

Chart2

Question: Thinking about your current primary leader and the national government they preside over, please indicate if you very much agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree or very much disagree with the following statements about that person and/or the government they represent: should be replaced with someone else

The bottom line?  The potential for political instability is widespread worldwide; but Canada is among the most stable countries.