REMAIN should be worried


‘Don’t trust received wisdom on UK’s EU referendum vote’, says Professor Matthew Goodwin of Chatham House. He refutes conventional wisdom that Remain is ahead, and may get a late upsurge of support. According to latest evidence this may be wrong.

First, the Ipsos−MORI phone tracker poll shows the Remain lead eroding fast from 44 points in June 2015 to 26 points in December 2015, 19 points in January 2016 and 8% in March 2016. A ‘poll of polls’ now puts both Remain and Leave on 50 Per cent. Why is Leave doing so well? Concerns about immigration, borders and national identity are mobilizing Leave voters. They see Brexit as their chance to regain control over migration and national borders. For many Leave voters this is a referendum about immigration, as much or more than the EU.

There is also the age issue. Older voters are more likely to support ‘Leave’ – and more likely to vote. Younger voters are more likely to support ‘Remain’ – but half as likely to vote. Could 2016 be the other way round from 1975, when there was a last minute surge to stay in the EU, and see a last minute?

As Prof Goodwin says “Whatever happens between now and then it is clear that for the Remain camp to win, it will need to think seriously about how to counter the appeal of anti-immigration populism, mobilize its younger voters to turn out and build a sophisticated grassroots operation that can increase the appeal of the status quo.”

Author: CMJ