• Almost three quarters (73 per cent) of over 6,000 UK adults polled believe that neither side of the campaign has “communicated effectively the financial benefits to households in their arguments”
  • “Personal financial impact” is ranked as highest voting consideration – above jobs and immigration – if voters were told that households bills would be impacted
  • More people think that they would be better off staying in the EU than leaving it, with a 40 per cent to 30 per cent split

Campaign groups on both sides of the EU referendum debate have failed to articulate the impact on personal finances to individuals and households ahead of the vote on 23 June. According to more than 6,000 UK adults polled by comparethemarket.com, 73 per cent believe that neither side has “communicated effectively the financial benefits to households in their arguments”.

This finding is important given the fact that the research also shows that people’s voting decisions could be swayed by effective communication of financial benefits. comparethemarket.comtested this theory by asking what the highest consideration would be when deciding how to vote if people were told that holidays, energy and insurance would be more expensive in the event of a “Brexit.” The “personal financial impact” ranked as the highest consideration when deciding how to vote, ahead of jobs and immigration – two emotive and hotly debated topics that could be seen as crucial deciding factors – and wider economic considerations and UK sovereignty.

When asked what household bills people think would be most impacted by Britain leaving the EU, people chose the following five:


Household bills

Percentage of respondents




2. =

Fuel (petrol and diesel)


2. =

Energy (gas and electric)



Mobile phone





Whilst the study deliberately avoided polling about people’s likely voting decision, it did seek to gauge how people think their personal finances will be effected in the event of either outcome. The results show that over half (58 per cent) do think that bills will be impacted, either positively or negatively, were there to be a change in the status quo. When the 6,165 adults were asked to what extent they believe they would be “financially better off if Britain was in or out of the EU, 40 per cent believe they would be better off remaining in the EU, whilst 30 per cent say they would be better off out. This split, coupled with the importance of people’s personal finances, indicates a marginal preference in favour of staying in the EU from amongst those polled.

Consumers were asked specifically about energy, insurance and travel costs in relation to the referendum, in each case being given a scenario in which they were told that bills would go up in the event the UK voted to leave the EU. Whilst in every case the majority of people say it wouldn’t affect their decision, in each category there was a significant minority whose voting decision would be impacted by being told costs would rise.

In particular, it appears that the cost and security of energy provision is a concern to the public. When presented with the hypothetical scenario that energy bills would rise in the event of a “Brexit”, 43 per cent would be “more likely” to vote to stay in the EU, whilst 40 per cent would be “worried” about the supply of Britain’s energy in that event. Furthermore, nearly a third (31 per cent) would be more likely to vote to stay if they were told that their insurance premiums would go up and a further 30 per cent would be “more likely” to vote to remain in the EU if they would told that holidays in Europe would become more expensive.

Commenting on the findings, Simon McCulloch, Director, comparethemarket.com, said: “Our research reveals just how much people could be swayed by either campaign group if they are able to communicate effectively how the outcome will benefit or harm household finances. In particular, the impact on the cost of holidays, energy and insurance seems to be a major consideration. The significant proportion of people who said that they would be more likely to vote to stay in the EU if they were told that energy bills would go up speaks to the power of the ‘soaring energy bills’ narrative in the national psyche. This could be a key battleground for influencing public opinion. Whilst there has been a little debate around the cost of energy, we think this may heat up in the run up to the referendum.”

The findings are based on an independent survey, conducted by Populus, the research house, of 6,165 UK adults. The poll was undertaken between 22 and 31 March 2016.

This research is strictly neutral and not arguing in favour of either outcome in the forthcoming referendum, nor promoting any campaign group. comparethemarket.com is not affiliated with any political party and has not donated any funds to any group associated with campaigning ahead of the EU referendum on 23 June 2016.

If you want to find out more about our findings you can download the full report here.

About comparethemarket.com

comparethemarket.com was launched in 2006 and has grown rapidly over the past nine years to become one of the UK’s leading price comparison websites. 

comparethemarket.com provides customers with an easy way to make the right choice for them on a wide range of products including motor, home, life, travel and pet insurance as well as utilities and money products such as, credit cards and loans.

comparethemarket.com actively selects its brand partners, working with the best and most trusted organisations to ensure quality service to consumers.

comparethemarket.com is a trading name of BISL Limited.  BISL Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered Address: Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough, PE2 6YS. Registered in England number 3231094.