Aug 12, 2018

Go deeper: The U.K. is changing its mind on Brexit

An anti Brexit protester holds a placard saying 'Brexit is it worth it?' while holding the European flag outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminter on July 19, 2018. Photo: John Keeble via Getty Images

More than 25% of the 403 constituencies of British Parliament that voted to leave the European Union in 2016 now oppose Brexit, according to data reviewed by The Guardian.

The big picture: The majority of parliamentary seats now favor remaining in the EU, a shift driven largely by members of the Labour Party in northern England and Wales who originally voted to leave. But even if attitudes hadn't changed, analysis shows that trending demographic changes in the U.K. would be significant enough to reduce support for Brexit by 2% in 2019, 4% in 2021, and more than 7% in 2026.

The backdrop: In June 2016, citizens of the United Kingdom voted by a 51.9%-48.1% margin to leave the EU.

  • A study by NatCen Social Research found that the vote crossed over party lines, and that those most likely to choose "Leave" had little formal education, low incomes, and often lived in public housing.
  • Older white voters who viewed themselves more as "English" than "British" and believed Britain had gotten "a lot worse" in the past decade were also among those most likely to vote Leave.
"The Leave victory was not about demographics alone, though it is clear that age, levels of education, income and newspaper readership are all related to the likelihood of voting Leave. Matters of identity were equally, if not more strongly associated with the Leave vote – particularly feelings of national identity and sense of change in Britain over time."
— NatCen Social Research

Between the lines: The main voting cohorts who chose Leave — including uneducated white and British-born voters who grew up before Britain joined the EU — all are shrinking in size, while their Remain-leaning counterparts are growing, according to an analysis by the London School of Economics.

  • For the past three decades, the number of college graduate voters in the U.K. has risen by .7% each year, while those with no formal education has dropped by 1%.
  • Ethnic minorities have also greatly increased and are on average younger than the U.K.'s white population.
  • Turnout in the 2016 Brexit referendum was dominated by "eurosceptics" who grew up before Britain joined the EU, but mortality will soon tip the electorate toward younger, more pro-EU generations.

The bottom line: The trending direction of the average British voter as it relates to education level, ethnic identity and formative experience spells trouble for pro-Brexiteers, especially as the struggle to strike a deal with the EU prompts calls for a second referendum.

Go deeper

Amid racial unrest, a test at the polls

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Eight states plus D.C. are holding primary elections today following a week of intense protests across the country over the brutal police killing of George Floyd.

Why it matters: It's the first major test for voting since the national outcry. Concerns over civil unrest and the police — as well as the coronavirus and expanded absentee voting — could reduce the number of voters showing up in person but heighten tensions for those who do.

Axios-Ipsos poll: America’s big racial divide on police, virus

Data: Ipsos/Axios survey; Note: ±3.2% margin of error; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

A new Axios-Ipsos poll finds that America has a massive racial gulf on each of our twin calamities — trust in police, and fear of the coronavirus.

  • 77% of whites say they trust local police, compared with just 36% of African Americans — one of many measures of a throbbing racial divide in Week 11 of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index, taken the week George Floyd was killed by a white policeman in Minneapolis.
Updated 53 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Updates: George Floyd protests nationwide

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued for a seventh day across the U.S., with President Trump threatening on Monday to deploy the military if the unrest continues.

The latest: Four police officers were struck by gunfire while standing near a line in St Louis on Monday after a peaceful demonstration, Police Chief John Hayden said early Tuesday. They were all taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He said a small group of people had thrown rocks and fireworks at police officers.