VOXTER - What do people really think about the EU referendum?

Voxter Brexit Report No. 2

The Choice


The Choice

The recent announcement of the the Brexit referendum has got the nation talking and that gave the Voxter team a great idea:

What would happen if you got a large representative sample of the UK online, to talk about Brexit? What would they say? What are the arguments? Which side is more convincing?

In our last Voxter Brexit blog, Brexit: The Voice, we showed how some groups were more vocal in the discussion than others. Those supporting "Leave" were 40% more vocal than those in favour of "Remain". Those aged 55 and older were almost three times more vocal than 18-34 year olds. Men were 40% more vocal than women.

In this blog we try and understand the effect of Voice on Choice: how did the overall discussion influence how people will vote? To this end, we asked people at the start and end of the discussion whether they would vote to definitely remain in the EU, probably remain, don’t know, probably leave, or definitely leave.

683 people gave their opinion at the start and end. This is their spread of voting intention:

Opinions on EU change during discussion, with overall swing towards 'Leave'

What we get, more than these statistics, is to see the effect of the discussion on people’s voting intentions.

The Undecided

17.9% of people changed their minds during our survey - 122 people gave a different answer at the end from the beginning. This suggests that as well as being undecided, people’s opinions are relatively easily swayed.

Overall there was a swing towards the leave: two third of those that changed their minds moved towards the leave camp, only a third moved towards the remain camp.

This indicates that exposure to the broad selection of arguments we encountered had a tangible effect. The flow of changes indicates that that the definite leave campaign were much less likely to change their views, and there was a definite shift towards leaving.

Flow of opinion change during EU discussion

Who changed?

Women were 33% more likely to change opinion.

18-35s were twice as likely to change their minds compared with over 55s.

The less knowledgeable were more likely to change their minds.

Those who started off saying 'Probably Remain' were most likely to change their minds (24.9%).

31.1% of those who changed their minds, changed to 'Don't know'.

What have we learned?

From our first two blogs a picture is starting to emerge. The Brexit debate has some built-in biases in that Voice is not equal. Groups that are more favourable to the Leave campaign tend to be more vocal, taking a more active role in the debate. The above data is suggestive that this extra Voice affects Choice: i.e., that in a free flowing debate there is more migration in people’s opinions towards the leave camp.

In these first two blogs we have been analysing the Brexit debate without actually looking at what people said. In our next blog we will head in to see what the arguments people use and how persuasive they are.


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