European Elections — What are the polls telling us?

in brexit •  last month 

An interesting poll here from YouGov ahead of the European Elections. It shows that if they are held (as they most likely will be) the two main parties but particularly the Conservatives will perform disastrously. If you drill down into the detailed figures they show that a very large number of those who voted Leave in 2016 are going to vote for UKIP or the Brexit Party while a smaller number of those who voted Remain are going to switch to ChUK. This will be an electoral expression of the realignment of politics around identity and a divide between nationalism and cosmopolitanism.

One of the things that has come out very clearly in several surveys is that the last three years have seen a very distinctive and strong Remain identity emerge (or more correctly become self-conscious) with people feeling that being European and more broadly cosmopolitan is an important aspect of their identity. Meanwhile the Leave voters always had a strong sense of British (or English) national identity which was the main factor behind their vote. That identity is now hardening as well and becoming more angry and embittered. This doesn't bode well for the centre right or centre left on the old spectrum.

Final point about the stats here is that I strongly suspect Leave will narrowly win the Euros if they happen but the Leave vote will be split between two parties. What I also expect however is that UKIP and the Brexit Party will appeal to very different demographics and have a distinct geographical distribution. (UKIP more in the North and Midlands, Brexit more in the rural areas and South). This reflects the reality that there were broadly two kinds of Leave voters (you could call them roughly national collectivist leave and global Britain leave) with distinct demographic profiles. Having two distinct Leave parties may actually maximise the total Leave vote.

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