Exclusive: youth vote would not stop Brexit
Our survey of UK students carried out over the past 72 hours suggests that young people voting for the first time in a second poll would fail to tip the balance in a second referendum.
A second referendum on leaving the European Union (EU). Theresa May has ruled it out. Jeremy Corbyn is under pressure to support it.
We wanted to find out what our readers really think about Brexit.
Some 1,029 people took part in our survey. Out of a total of 837,791, our results are likely to be 95% accurate with a 3% margin of error.
Warning: we are very clear that this is not a professionally conducted poll but more of an interesting exercise in taking the temperature.
The message of the survey: in a second referendum, 73.1% of you would vote to remain in the EU, while 26.9% would vote to leave.
So would this change the outcome of the referendum? The answer is no.
Each year, around 700,000 people in the UK reach voting age. This means that approximately 1.75 million “Brexit inbetweeners” have gained the right to vote since June 2016.
If 73.1% of “Brexit inbetweeners” voted Remain on a 65% turnout, this would create 831,513 new Remain votes and 305,987 Leave votes.
In this case, Leave would still win by just under 344,000 votes if a second referendum were held tomorrow.
This is a much smaller number than in June 2016, when 1.3 million more people voted Leave than Remain.
According to ex-YouGov chief Peter Kellner, “crossover day”, the day when Leave’s majority would be eliminated by young voters, was last Saturday. However, the poll he used said that only 13% of new voters would favour Leave — less than half of the number suggested by our results.
Either way, the Leave vote seems to be shrinking fast as the younger generation turn 18.
Some argue that the voting age limit should be lowered to 16. But should there be an upper age limit? Teenagers will deal with the consequences for the rest of their lives.
On the other hand, youth is a learning curve and views can change dramatically as you learn about the world.
- Do you think Leave or Remain would win a second referendum?
- As a class, hold your own poll on the question: “How would you vote in a second referendum?” Work out what percentage of the class support Leave or Remain. Are your results similar to ours, or different?
Some People Say...
“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.”US President Franklin D. Roosevelt
What do you think?
Q & A
- What do we know?
- Yesterday, Theresa May spoke to the House of Commons. She announced the government is scrapping a fee for EU citizens who must register to stay in the UK after Brexit. May also ruled out a second referendum and extending Article 50 to delay Brexit.
- What do we not know?
- Despite an eventful fortnight, we still do not know what Brexit deal — if any — will be accepted by Parliament.
- Yesterday, the prime minister told the House of Commons that she will not hold a second referendum or extend Article 50, which would delay the UK’s exit from the EU.
- The total number of people eligible for the survey.
- “crossover day”
- Many pro-Brexit figures accused Kellner of bias. They point out that the survey was carried out with the People’s Vote campaign.