Brexit is Lost
Here’s why Brexit is lost…
- The long-term (over months) trend of opinion polls shows Remain in the lead. For example, the moving average poll of polls here: http://whatukthinks.org/eu/opinion-polls/poll-of-polls/.
- Online polls skew towards Leave. Phone polls skew towards Remain. From past performance phone polls have been more accurate predictors.
- Older voters (e.g., over-65s) favour Leave. Younger voters (up to mid-30s) favour Remain. Older voters have generally been more likely to vote. That may also hold true this time. Despite this the polls have on average been favouring Remain.
- But there has been a recent reverse of older voters’ favouring Leave. “The majority of older voters, Conservative supporters and men are now backing the campaign to stay in the EU following a collapse in support for Brexit.” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/23/eu-referendum-poll-pensioners-tory-voters-and-men-are-deserting/). No doubt this explains the 6-10 point Remain lead of te past two weeks.
- Assuming most of those who are currently undecided intend to vote it’s reasonable to assume they will vote for “safety,” hence will vote to Remain.
- Most people are motivated by perceptions of their short-term economic wellbeing. Almost all prominent bodies predict at the least a short-term (a few years) economic hit. A recent analysis in the Daily Mail describing a big swing towards Remain also highlighted that “project fear” from the government, and its sponsored reports, was not a big factor. Yet still there was a swing to Remain. It might be that they are paying attention to the opinions of nominally independent bodies or medium to large enterprises. Whether these predictions are right is irrelevant. There is an expectation that the status quo is economically safer. (For older voters it might be that they think, even if there is short-term pain but long-term gain, this will be no good for them as they will be dead or economically inactive and so unable to reap the rewards.)
- Many are concerned by immigration but they are probably also aware that it may still be somewhat high after Brexit anyway. But even if not it ranks lower than considerations of short-term economic wellbeing. This is reminiscent of a survey I remember seeing in the 2005 election. Voters ranked the Tories higher on immigration and law and order but they ranked Labour higher on education and the NHS. But the latter two were higher on their list of priorities and trumped the Tories’ concerns over immigration and law and order (and the EU for that matter).
- Apart from immigration the Leave side emphasise loss of sovereignty, burdensome regulations and the democratic deficit in the EU. But the average voter sees regulations as necessary and probably thinks many EU ones are worthwhile. And considerations of sovereignty and the superiority of Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence are too abstruse for the average voter. Hence they will emphasise [perceived] economic well-being and, for the young at least, things like cheap flights, ease of movement around the continent and so on. Plus, as the young don’t vote, or deem it to be of marginal significance, considerations of sovereignty are even further removed from their minds than from those of older voters.
- Although both sides have been accused of Project Fear the Leave side always seem to be reacting to the latest Fear story from the Remain side. Rarely have they looked proactive. As in the Scottish Referendum Project Fear tends to work best for the status quo. Those who would challenge it need to offer more than just being on the defensive.