Brexit vote: The breakdown

Related Topics
image copyrightGetty Images

New research has cast fresh light on who decided to vote Leave in June's referendum - and provides further evidence of how they saw off the Remainers.

The National Centre for Social Research report is based on a "synthesis of evidence" from the British Social Attitudes Survey of 3,000 adults; the NCSR's own panel of almost 4,000 people, in May/June and September; and the British Election Study Panel of around 30,000 people.


The National Centre for Social Research finds that of those who told it in May that they were likely to vote Leave, 11% did not actually vote.

For those saying they were likely to vote Remain, the non-voting figure was 19%.

The Remain vote "clearly softened during the campaign", the report finds.

"This must raise questions about the ability of the Remain campaign to 'get out the vote'," it says.

Big issues

The issues cited as the most important in deciding people's referendum position were:

  • The economy (21%)
  • Immigration (20%)
  • Sovereignty/EU bureaucracy (17%)

The report says 88% of those who thought immigration was the biggest issue voted Leave, and 90% of those who chose sovereignty.

Among those citing the economy, it was 15%.


The proportion of people voting Leave, when looked at by party identification, was:

  • UKIP - 98%
  • No affiliation - 70%
  • Conservative - 58%
  • Labour - 36%
  • Liberal Democrat - 26%
  • Green Party - 21%


The report says voters were more likely to "follow the position" of the newspaper they read than the political party they identified with.

The rates of Leave voting among people looked at by the newspapers read most often were:

  • Sun - 70%
  • Express - 70%
  • Mail - 66%
  • Star - 65%
  • Telegraph - 55%
  • Mirror - 44%
  • No newspaper - 41%
  • Other paper - 33%
  • Times - 30%
  • Financial Times - 22%
  • Independent - 15%
  • Guardian - 9%


The people most likely to vote Leave were:

  • Those with no formal qualifications (78%)
  • Those with an income of less than £1,200 a month (66%)
  • Those in social housing provided by councils (70%) or housing associations (68%)

When questioned on their feelings about life, the people most likely to vote Leave were:

  • Those finding it difficult to manage financially (70%), or just about getting by (60%)
  • Those who believe Britain has got worse in last decade (73%)
  • Those who think things have got worse for them in last decade (76%)
  • Those who see themselves as English rather than British (74%)

Rising Euroscepticism

The report also notes a "slow burn of Euroscepticism" and that the referendum highlighted "a wide range of social, geographic and other differences".

It was not, it adds, a "traditional left-right battle" but one more about "identity and values", calling it a "strong sign that the so-called 'culture wars' of the US have arrived in Great Britain in earnest".

Related Topics