30 June 2016

The Psephology - Why Did Leave Win?

I was for a Leave vote - but I'll be honest. I didn't think we were going to win. Particularly at about 10pm on the night, when Nigel Farage conceded off the back of two entrance polls, I found myself, as with last year's general election, repeating a pattern - going into overdrive and hoping, rather than expecting, a result better than what the poll suggested. And two years in a row, I got it. But there are many patterns to determine as to why Vote Leave won from the psephology.

Reason One: AV

Remember the AV referendum? Nope, nor do I. But what is interesting to see is that there is a very strong correlation between the AV votes and the EU Referendum votes (discounting Gibraltar, as they did not vote in the AV referendum). Those who voted for AV are more likely to vote for Remain. Admittedly, the top end gets a little bit complicated, but one could say that London, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, the three anomalies, are so far away from the rest of the country we should consider them outliers and not count them.

When one discounts those three outliers (London, Scotland, and Northern Ireland), you get an even more interesting chart:

The one anomaly that sticks out there is the South East of England, and to this we can speculate that the Liberal Democrats had a lot of support in that part of the world when the AV referendum occurred and so people voted for the Lib Dem option. Either that or they voted against the EU because the Common Fisheries Policy affected them more than most.

But why are London, Scotland, and Northern Ireland so far away from the rest of the country on the EU and on AV? I really don't know regarding Northern Ireland, because their politics are so far away from the rest of the UK anyway.

Scotland and London, in general elections, is quite far Left wing, and so are in favour of cases such as electoral reform and so on, as well as Right wing parties doing disproportionately badly there: they are, famously, UKIP's least successful hunting grounds; it has now started to gain a foothold in Wales. Unfortunately, the BBC's results page for Election 2015 is not as comprehensive as it was in 2010, for it did not do regions, and as I lack the patience to calculate it myself, we can only guess as to whether there's a correlation there.

Whilst one might retort this with the fact that UKIP are now also in favour of electoral reform, one has to remember they changed their mind after getting oh-so-close in about a million seats in the general election, and they were against AV at the time. I have neither the time nor the patience to go through all 400-odd counting areas, mind you, so I can't break this down any further. For now.

Reason Two: The Generation Game

There has also been much talk about how "old white people" ruined the referendum result and should not have been allowed to vote in it, blah, blah, etc., etc. Now, not only can you ban old people from voting unless you ban terminally ill patients (because they don't have a future too, right?), but I think the first piece of interest here is not that it was the age per se that was the main difference, it is the jobs that these generations take. Our nation very much has its jobs being a generation thing. Allow me to explain.

How many students are between 18-24? Probably about 95% of them, if not more. And practically every University argued for a Remain vote. By contrast, how many 18-24 year old fishermen are there? Virtually zero. And how many fisheries argued for a Remain vote? Virtually none of them, if at all. The age gap came from jobs. How many young people work for JML? Tate & Lyle? These firms supported Leave and the workers did what they thought was best for their job. It correlates (and causes) the age gap.

Now, the turnout of the youth compared even to last year's general election is striking. According to the Intergenerational Foundation, a group that moans about the generation divides, 43% of 18-24 year olds voted in last year's general election. Now that dropped to 36% for the referendum, a drop of 7 percentage points compared to a rise of 6 percentage points across the country as a whole.

There are about 5.9 million 18-24 year olds in the UK (a figure I came up with thanks to a population pyramid and some dodgy maths). Now, if only 36% of them were bothered to turn up, and polls suggest that between 72% and 75% of them voted Remain, if we take the midpoint of that range and apply those two figures, there were only about 1.5 million "Remain" votes from young people. 

Would 16-17 year olds have affected the result? No: there's no guarantee as to whether they would turn out or not and as to how they would vote. Even with a full turnout, the Independent says that 16-17 year olds would have to be 93% Remain. Using a bit of GCSE Maths from that figure, there are approximately 1.5 million 16-17 year olds in the UK. A 100% turnout with 100% support for Remain would have resulted in a win for Remain by about 198,000 votes. And that's not accounting for turnout, a less-than-100% Remain support, or any waiverers up the age ladder choosing to Leave on the basis that they "know" Remain would have more support (a theory which is difficult to explain in words). 

So let's apply some polling and so on, shall we?

The one poll done had 16-17 year olds at 82% support, so straightaway the result wouldn't have changed. There's no research done on whether they would have turned out, so we have to guess using the following graph (using Sky data) and seeing where what your physics teacher might call "the curve of best fit" goes:

Oh dear. We'll call it about 25%, and so there may only have been an extra 300,000 remain votes overall and an extra 66,000 votes for leave, which would still have kept the margin of Leave's victory above a million votes.

Reason Three: The Even Silenter, Even Bigger Majority

It seems quite clear, that after the general election and now the referendum, that the silent majority are growing in number. Why are the majority silent? Because of what I would call the "violent left" - the kind of people who see the Tories and all Right-leaning people as scum, the kind of people who buy the Socialist Worker (of which there is currently a petition to ban as its actions have contravened the Terrorism Act 2000), the kind of people who protest democracy and election results.

These people tar all Tories as "scum" and screech a lot whenever something doesn't go their way. Think of Margaret Thatcher's death. Or the defacing of the cenotaph after the Conservative victory last year. And now people demand a second referendum because they didn't get their way and want to move the goalposts so that we will have a "neverendum", resulting in Remain, the status quo, winning forever.

As a result, many Tories and Leave voters who aren't every name under the sun stay in the shadows. In 1992 this was called the "Shy Tory" factor, and it's now bigger than ever. Or, rather, it's a "shy (seemingly) unpopular opinion" factor, because it also applied to Gordon Brown in 2010. Over 17.4 million Leave voters cannot all be racists, xenophobes, sexists, etc.. Logically, therefore, there will be people who do not want to be associated with this brush - and that's the beauty of a secret ballot.

I was not as active in the referendum campaign as I had been in others (because the date of the referendum was very poor for me) and so I did not meet as many people as normal. But of the people I did meet from Leave, a lot of them were worried, scared even, and upset that they had been called racists, morons, etc.. Therefore no one wanted to be seen dead in Leave shirts for fear of assault, or even, perhaps death by association, as the NUS have condemned UKIP, Israel, the Holocaust Memorial Day, and cisgender gay men. But not ISIL. Anyway, that's a story for another day.

The "old white people" are under attack from the over-politically-correct violent Left, whose notion of equality is to drive the "pale, male, and stale" into the ground. And this limits freedom of speech as a result. One day, these people may become leader of parties like Labour, the Greens, and so on, which keep getting dragged further left and left by its members (Jeremy Corbyn's crisis springs to mind, I hope he doesn't get bored of IKEA when choosing a new cabinet).

But come election day, when you don't have to say anything, just stroll up to a polling station and put a cross in a box, the silent majority shuffle along to the polling stations and defy the polls. Last year, this led to accusations that David Cameron fixed the election. This year, no one can say such a thing (it's the pens wot won it, of course...).


I am an amateur at these things, so whilst it might not be accurate it at least goes some way to getting an answer... right? Please feel free to comment below.

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