People in towns feel poorer, more marginalised and less cared for by politicians than those in cities, according to a new Sky poll.
Some 69% of people living in towns feel they are less central to society than other Britons, compared with 56% of those living in cities.
Sky Data polling from the new think tank, the Centre for Towns, also found 68% of those living in towns think politicians don’t care about their area, against 54% for city-dwellers.
And 53% of people in towns say their area is less well off, compared with just 36% of people in cities.
The research comes against a backdrop of increasing divergence in the views and experiences of people in towns and cities, reflected by the Brexit vote.
Towns – particularly those in a state of decline, measured by economic activity, population, and the proportion of the population with a degree – were much more likely to vote for Leave in the EU referendum than people in cities.
And a sharp contrast in party political views is also revealed.
Labour have enjoyed a five-point net swing from the Tories in cities, comparing votes in the general elections of 2005 with 2017.
While the Conservatives have seen a six-point swing towards them from Labour in small towns in the same time.
Will Jennings, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at the University of Southampton and Co-Founder of Centre for Towns, said: “The gap between the outlooks of Britain’s cities and towns is at the heart of our divided politics.
“People in towns are less likely to think politics is working for their area and feel less central to British society.
“This divide is likely to last until its root causes are addressed with local solutions and innovation. It won’t be fixed by populist rhetoric presenting simple solutions to complex problems.”