China Insights

What might have decided the EU Referendum outcome?

Martin Guo

Editor-in-Chief, Kantar China Insights

TV & Movie 24.06.2016 / 12:00


Kantar’s TNS predicts that 'Leave' campaign will win by 2 points over 'Remain'. Turnout level among different demographic groups will be critical in determining the result.

There are many polls before the EU Referendum, including one from Kantar’s TNS. According to the last voting intention survey by TNS of 2,320 UK adults, the “Leave” campaign was leading by 2 points over “Remain”. Voting intention among those registered to vote (including those not fully decided but leaning in one direction) was as follows: Remain 41%, Leave 43%, Undecided/Would not vote 16%.

The data was weighted to match population totals for age, sex, working status, 2015 General Election voting patterns, education, region, agreement that people from different backgrounds get on in their local area, and likelihood to vote in the next general election.

22_June _EU_referendum _poll

Clearly, with a race as close as this, the turnout level among different demographic groups would be critical in determining the result.  For example, the 18-34 age group was strongly in favour of “Remain” (50% vs 28%) but in general elections they tend to turn out at lower levels than older people (who lean towards leaving the EU).  However, this referendum is not a general election; it is an event without precedent.  TNS predicted by then that If turnoutdidreflect the general election, it could mean a victory for Leave even if opinion among those registered to vote was almost evenly split.

Why more young people support “Remain” ?

A separate poll conducted by TNS in May offered a possible explanation. There was a clear generational divide when respondents were asked whether leaving the EU would leave them personally financially better or worse off.

The proportion who think they would be personally worse off financially decreases with age, from 38% of 18-24 year-olds to 22% of those aged over 55. Whereas, the proportion who think leaving the EU would make no difference to their personal finances increases with age, from 18% of 18-24 year-olds to 48% of those over 55.

If _the _UK_were _to _leave _the _EU,_do _you _think _you _personally _would _be ..._

“Understandably, believing that leaving the EU would not make a difference to you financially is not on its own a reason to leave the EU, but older age groups, with fewer years ahead to feel the effects of any long-term downturn, perhaps feel liberated to vote on other issues such as sovereignty,” said Adam Highland, TNS research executive. “Meanwhile, younger age groups, with their futures at stake, perhaps feel they have more to lose – a mindset which has always favoured the status quo.”

Finally, the turnout for EU Referendum was 72%, higher than 66.4% in 2015 general election.

Also, many say we live in a “social media era”, but this time round TV and newspaper are still the main source for Britons to stay informed of the referendum.

A poll by Kantar’s Lightspeed GMI has found that four in 10 Brits (43%) say the TV is their main source of EU referendum information, while two in 10 (21%) use newspapers (online and/or print) as their second main source. In contrast, only 5% chose Facebook, 1% chose Twitter and 3% chose “other social networks”.  Very few people (6%) say they have visited the official Remain and Leave websites to seek information.

Which _is _the _most _importance _source _to _you _when _seeking _information _about _the _upcoming _EU_referendum_However, is Twitter buzz a good indicator to forecast the outcome?

Using the Kantar UK Political Pulse, we’ve tracked tweets from when the EU referendum campaign started on April 15 until polling day. Across the 69 days, we’ve analysed 9.3 million politically themed tweets sent.

Through-out the campaign the most popular hashtag was #EUref. In total it was used 236k times, with use growing steadily as we approached June 23, particularly once it became an official Twitter hashtag, complete with image.

The second most popular hashtag was #VoteLeave, used in 199k tweets, followed by #StrongerIn (103k tweets).

So, if #VoteLeave was more popular than #StrongerIn, did Twitter predict the EU referendum result? Well, when we drill into the data a bit further we see that the most prolific tweeter of the campaign was the account: @Vote_Leave, sending a massive 108k tweets since April. If they were including the #Voteleave hashtag in every tweet, that might go some way to explain its popularity.

Another important thing to note is that whereas the Leave campaign galvanised around one hashtag, the Remain campaign used a range of different hashtags:

#StrongerIn 103k

#Remain 70k

#VoteRemain 41k

#LabourInForBritain  32k


Source: Kantar, Lightspeed, Kantar TNS

Editor's notes

* To know more information, data and analysis of political campaign research and analysis, please contact us.

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