Key issues for voters in the EU Referendum.

We wanted to share with you this interesting bit of #Brexit research.

Following the EU Referendum the British Election Study published research into what voters thought were the most important issues when deciding how to vote in the EU referendum.

The interview was conducted in an open ended format, meaning people didn’t choose from set options, they could say whatever they felt was the most important issue to them. There was 15,070 unique answers to the question.

They sorted these 15,070 answers into 54 categories and used this data to make this chart.

This is particularly interesting as it shows the key issues which were considered from both sides of the debate.

Here is their analysis:

“These results show that while the single largest word that leavers say is “immigration”, they were actually more likely to mention sovereignty related issues overall. The clear picture we get from this analysis is that leavers are concerned primarily about sovereignty and immigration. In fact reading responses shows that many respondents mention both sovereignty and immigration together, showing that these two issues were closely linked in the minds of British voters.

On the remain side, economic reasons are by far the largest single category, with other respondents split fairly evenly across other categories. These included people who felt European and didn’t want to be “little Englanders”, and people who worried that Britain’s influence in the world would decline.

Overall, our results suggest that the referendum campaign was not a fight about which side had the best argument on the issues: very few people voted leave to improve the economy and very few voted remain to reduce immigration. Instead, the fight was about which of these issues was more important.”

(Source: All of the data and graphs in this blog post are from this blog post on the BES website.)

Rachael Farrington

Hello! I founded Voting Counts back in 2014, when I was a sixth form student. I'm now studying Politics and History at University and run Voting Counts in my spare time.

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