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We Asked the Public How They Would Vote in a Second Brexit Referendum
Out of the 12,000 who took part in our survey, 9.6% of the respondents said they would change their vote if there was a second referendum.

Two years down the line the negotiations remain in the news on a daily basis. However, the details of a deal with Europe are still to be finalised, leaving the public uncertain over what the actual impact of Brexit will be.  This uncertainty has led many to call for a second referendum.

This idea has pushed us into thinking; would people actually vote differently today compared to how they voted two years ago?  So we conducted our own mini referendum and asked 12,000 people this question.  Below we reveal some of the answers we received.

 

9.6% People Said They Would Change Their Vote

Out of the 12,000 who took part in our survey, 9.6% of the respondents said they would change their vote if there was a second referendum.  Given how close the original vote was, (with a gap of 3.8% between the vote leave and vote remain results) this type of swing could have a significant impact if a second referendum was conducted.

Here are some of the main reasons why people would now change their vote:

 

We Were Lied To

One of the most common answers that came up during our research was the fact that people believe they were lied to and feel betrayed by both sides of the Brexit argument.

Scare tactics

Without knowing what a deal with the EU would look like, politicians could only make predictions about what was to come depending on the outcome of the vote. People feel they were misled, and both sides used scare tactics.  As one respondent stated “I voted leave thinking it would be good for the economy. Now I realise I had been lied to and mislead by project fear”.

One particular example that a number of respondents referred to, was the leave campaign leading us to believe that the money currently going to the EU (£350million per week) could be redirected to the NHS; “I was deceived into believing the NHS would receive the extra £350million”. Two years on from the referendum and there are still no signs that this will happen.

It’s complicated!

What both campaigns had failed to put across to the public was exactly how hugely complicated the whole situation is, relying instead on simplified messages, designed to appeal to people’s emotions. “I voted leave but would now vote remain. The promises made can't be delivered”.

 

We Should Have Voted After the Deal Had Been Decided

A large number of the people we surveyed believe that the referendum should have taken place after a deal with the EU was established;

“I would like to vote on the final deal instead of having to try and work it out from all the untruths…”.  

Voting blind

A widely shared view from our respondents has been that voting in the Brexit referendum was essentially voting blind, no one really knew the truth and it was difficult to work out which way would have the better outcome; “…we didn't really know what could happen. It was hard to vote at the time.”

Technically speaking, it was probably impossible for any form of negotiations with the EU to take place prior to the vote.  However, a lot of people believe that it would have been a much fairer vote as we would have actually understood or had a much better idea about what we were voting for.

 

The EU’s Treatment of the UK Since the Vote has Led to Some Remainers Changing their Minds

Some people who voted to remain, have now said that they would vote to leave after the EU’s treatment of the UK since the Brexit vote “…after seeing the way the EU have tried to scare and threaten us since, I would now vote to leave”.

It seems that it is particularly this treatment by Europe that has led to vote Leavers sticking to their guns and continuing to support Brexit.

Is Europe out to punish the UK?

Many seem to regard the way that the EU has conducted the negotiations as being a way for Europe to punish the UK for its decision to leave, as well as a warning message to other countries that might consider a similar exit.  Recent actions such as the EU threatening to take the UK to court if it doesn’t end a series of tax breaks, illustrate the rising hostilities and explain why a number of our respondents feel that the EU’s actions since the vote have shown them in their true colours.

However, should it really be a surprise that Europe is looking out for its own interests, as the UK would surely also do if the roles were reversed, and is indeed doing in trying to negotiate the best Brexit deal for itself.

 

Still No Deal On the Table

It seems that a lot of people are now worried as negotiations over the details of the deal aren’t exactly going how some expected, leading them wishing they could change their vote.

“I would vote remain now, the whole of the discussions between Theresa May and her cabinet are making us a laughing stock”.

Others commented that “staying is far better than an incompetent deal” and that “it is a complete mess up, the majority voted for change but the changes being agreed are not what the people wanted. So we may as well have stayed as we were in the first place”.

Are the Government panicking?

It seems that not only the public are worried about the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. Recently, the British government has been found to have written to the other 27 member states asking for side negotiations and deals on transport, aviation and haulage in the event of this. This was done in spite of the fact that they were told two weeks ago by the European Commission’s most senior trade official that if there is no deal made by this Autumn, there will be no other agreements made to protect the UK economy.

 

Voting With Their Hearts Rather Than Their Heads

As one respondent explained, “I made a mistake in voting Leave, never believing a majority would vote in favour of it. It was a stupid protest vote”.

Whilst such honesty is rare, how many others are now questioning the basis for their vote?  Whether you speak to Remainers or Leavers, one thing is clear, Brexit has certainly stirred up a lot of emotion.  In the absence of clear facts, it is this emotion that seems to have informed the way many voted in the referendum which is now being regretted by many in the wake of all the untruths and failing negotiations coming to light.

 

Those Who Didn’t Vote are Feeling Regret…

A large number of people who took our survey revealed that they had chosen not to vote in the referendum.

Some people because they simply couldn’t decide based on the information they were given.  Others cited the behaviour of both sides of the debate as the reason they abstained; “I didn’t vote in the referendum as there was only scare tactics and bullying by both sides”.

And others chose not to vote as they believed they simply wouldn’t need to “I just didn’t think the result could possibly be to leave”.  

One of the biggest shocks in UK political history

It’s true to say that this is one of the biggest shocks in UK political history and a huge amount of people just didn’t believe it would happen. Now the results are here, and negotiations are taking place, it’s clear that a lot of people who didn’t vote are starting to regret their decision and would vote if they had a second chance; “I regret not voting in 2016. Big mistake."

27.8% of the UK population chose not to vote in 2016 and the majority of our respondents who didn’t vote confirmed they were Remainers.  Therefore, considering the results were so close (51.9% leave to 48.1% remain), it’s hard not to wonder how the outcome might have been different if they had chosen to vote.

 

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