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‘Bluntly, older, mainly Leave, voters are dying—and younger, mainly Remain, voters are joining the electorate.’

May 28th, 2018

There’s some analysis by Peter Kellner on a second referendum.

The UK would vote to remain in the EU if a second Brexit referendum were held, new polling analysis has suggested.

Peter Kellner, former president of YouGov and polling analyst, suggested that up to one million Labour supporters who voted Leave in the 2016 referendum are having second thoughts.

In an article for Prospect, he points out that YouGov has carried out 14 polls this year asking people if the UK was right or wrong to vote for Brexit.

“Thirteen of 14 polls this year show slightly more people saying ‘wrong’ than ‘right’,” he said.

“This indicates a small but consistent net move away from Brexit.”

A large part of Mr Kellner’s belief stems from data showing that generally older voters supported Leave, whereas younger voters tended to support Remain.

He said: “Bluntly, older, mainly Leave, voters are dying – and younger, mainly Remain, voters are joining the electorate.”

Mr Kellner points out that Leave voters outnumber Remain by 1.3 million and that since the referendum roughly 1.2 million voters had died, while 1.4 million have entered voting age, meaning “demography has already reduced that lead by more than half”.

However, he warned that even if a second referendum were to take place, Labour would have to “campaign actively to stay in the EU”.

“This would, of course, require Jeremy Corbyn to abandon his past views of Brussels, which have ranged from lack of enthusiasm to outright hostility,” he added.

I’m not sure I buy into this demographic changes analysis, back in the late nineties and early noughties I regularly read analysis, such as The strange death of Tory England, that similar demographic changes would mean the Tories would never win a majority let alone most seats for the foreseeable future. Yet the Tories have won three out of the five general elections this millennium, including one majority.

As we saw with the dementia tax people might tell pollsters they like a particular policy, such as higher taxes to pay for health and social care. When the reality of that policy is about to be enacted and they are about to be made poorer support for that policy will collapse.

If there is a second referendum it will only happen after the voters have experienced a few years of Brexit and concluded that it is a mistake and a Labour leader passionately campaigning for Rejoin.

TSE