“Well I think the first thing to say is that the polls, well most polls, were for a very long time in this referendum pointing to a very narrow outcome and throughout the campaign there were, on occasion, polls that said that Leave were going to win as indeed were a couple of the polls that were conducted in the final days of the campaign.”
He further said that while it’s fair to say that on balance the opinion polls pointed to a narrow Remain victory, it’s not true that all the polls were pointing towards a Remain victory and while “Remain side were slightly the favorites – certainly nobody could rule out the possibility of the UK voting to leave which is of course exactly what happened,” Curtice said.
Talking about the distribution of votes across the UK, Curtice said that London has a young, more educated demographic and those are all characteristics that tended to promote a relatively high vote to remain because young graduates are the keenest on remaining.
“Scotland, because for nationalists in Scotland, being part of the European Union is regarded as one of the ways in which independence could be achieved, therefore Scotland, unlike England and Wales, being in the European Union is one way of realizing the nationalist aspiration rather than regarded as a potential constraint on sovereignty in the way that many people in England regarded it,” Curtice explained.
“Certainly they seem to have particular difficulties. Once you’ve got well and truly away from London, once you got well and truly away from the places where city finance matters and where there’s a pretty diverse population, once you’ve got away from that, then Remain seem to have been in trouble so provincial England eventually in the end decided the outcome of this referendum,” Curtice said.
The analyst spoke about the young people who turned up for voting mentioning that it was true that there was a 72% turnout which was the highest turnout for a UK-wide vote for over 20 years.
“So I think that the truth is that Remain were always going to struggle to get as many younger voters to the polls as older voters and I suspect, at the end of the day, that was one of the factors though I doubt very much that if differential turnout will fully explain the difference between the eventual Remain vote of 48% and the 50% +1 that they needed to win this referendum,” the analyst said.
Talking about whether we will see a series of further referendums occur soon across Europe, Curtice said that, “Clearly some parties are going for that. It depends on the ability of these parties to be, in many a country, whether or not they are parties that might be essential to the formation of a coalition and therefore might be in a position to insist on this.”
There is some argument about whether that might happen in the Netherlands and in Italy. France however, which is probably the most Eurosceptic country in the EU, apart from the UK at the moment makes it clear that France will hold such a referendum, “but we have to watch the process of government formation in the Netherlands and Italy to see whether or not a party that wants to hold a referendum does actually get a toehold in the government in either of those two countries,” Curtice said.
On Thursday, the United Kingdom held a referendum to determine whether or not the country should leave the European Union. According to the final results, 51.9 percent of voters, or 17.4 million people, decided to support Brexit, while about 16.1 million opposed it.