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Brighton and Hove Liberal Democrats

The various types of Leavers and Remainers

October 22, 2017 7:44 AM
By Paul Chandler, 2017 election agent for Brighton and Hove LibDems.

There was recently an interesting article in the Financial Times based around an Ipsos Mori opinion poll on why people voted the way they did in the EU Referendum. The poll took the temperature among 4,000 voters.

They have discerned six types of voter in the EU Referendum. Here they are with the percentage of the electorate they represent:

'British values' Leavers 10%

Working-class Leavers 15%

Moderate Leavers 18%

Total 43%


Disengaged Remainers 16%

Young, urban Remainers 11%

Older, liberal Remainers 15%

Total 42%

You can see this leaves 15% of the population unassigned. I suppose they are those who didn't vote at all.

In the first category 'British Values', are the die-hard - make Britain Great Again Nationalists. I suppose Ian Duncan Smith springs to mind. I have friends in this category!

The second, Working-Class, are the disenchanted Northerners in the old-industrial towns that so frighten Labour. It is worth reminding Labour MPs that while their constituency may have voted Leave most of their voters voted Remain. This contradiction comes about because - under our electoral system - most MPs do not have the support of most of their constituents. Many of these voters possibly watched the campaign and thought it was a fight between two wings of the Tory Party and felt inclined to put up two-fingers to the establishment and the world in general.

The third group of Moderate Leavers are those who probably voted Leave for the £350 million a week for the NHS - i.e. those most likely to think that they were being asked a genuinely marginal question about which way to jump and it is amongst this group (IMHO) that the Remain campaign failed. We over-egged 'Project Fear'. And should have concentrated on repeatedly demolishing the Leave camp's argument rather than putting forward doomsday scenarios.

Moving across to the Remain side we meet Disengaged Remainers - younger, city based (rather than market town) but also the least likely to vote at all. The Remain campaign failed to motivate these people to vote in sufficient numbers.

Fifth - Well that's folks like Carrie Hynds our candidate at the General Election in Hove and many others in the local Party. Young, educated, outward looking - and great people to have onboard.

And Sixth - well that category was made for me and probably most of the people I know!! It is also the category that is, according to the analysis, most likely to vote LibDem.

The strategy to reverse Brexit should focus on moving group 3 across the line into the Remain camp when they see that things are more complicated than they were led to believe and additionally getting the don't knows and the fourth group to step up to the plate and vote!

Immediately after the vote in June last year there was a feeling amongst some Remainers that now the vote had been held, the matter was settled and politicians should just 'get on with it'. Why even Jeremy Corbyn appeared a few days later saying we should invoke Article 50 straight away. So, we also must think about those who voted Remain and might now favour Brexit after the 'people have spoken'. I hope that as the complexity of Brexit becomes more and more evident and benefits less and less apparent that these 'soft' Remainers will vote for remain in any proposed 'Referendum on the Facts'

The two extreme categories are unlikely to be swayed, I suspect. Yes, I am suggesting that the diametrically opposed views of Ian Duncan Smith and me be ignored!