A survey conducted by a electoral reform forum shows that public switched off by ‘big names’ wading into EU referendum debate….reports Asian Lite News
New polling for the Electoral Reform Society by BMG Research shows that ‘big names’ wading into the referendum debate has in almost all cases had the opposite effect to the one intended on how people will vote, or had no impact at all. The ERS commissioned BMG Research to ask voters how the interventions of major politicians into the EU referendum debate has affected how they will vote on June 23rd.
The research shows that:
Boris Johnson’s contribution to the debate has made 20% of people more likely to vote to Remain,only five percentage points less than those it made more likely to Leave. 21% of 25-34 year olds said his contribution has made them more likely to vote to Remain, compared to 14% for Leave. 34% of Labour voters say it has made them more likely to vote Remain, to just 14% Leave, suggesting they are following party cues, while it had no impact on 55% of voters.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron’s contribution to the campaign has made 29% of people say they’re more likely to vote Leave, compared to 15% for whom it has made more likely to vote Remain. 33% of Conservatives say it’s made them more likely to vote Leave, alongside 26% of Labour voters. The ERS believe this is a reflection of party cues being split at senior levels between Leave and Remain. 56% of people say Cameron’s interventions have had no impact on their vote.
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn’s interventions have had no impact on 68% of the public, while it has made 19% more likely to vote Leave – compared to just 13% it’s made more likely to stay. However, it has had some impact on young people, making 17% (to 12% against) of 18-24 year olds more likely to Remain. For over 65s, it has made 29% more likely to vote Leave. It has had an impact on Labour voters, making 31% (to 8%) more likely to vote to Remain, but has mobilised Conservatives against Remain by 2:1 (21% to 10%), again consistent with the analysis above.
Analysing the results, Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said: “These surprising findings show that the public are completely switched off by the ‘big names’ of the EU referendum debate. Voters are tired of personality politics, and it’s driving them away from engaging with the referendum, with the public seeing it as a battle within parties and Westminster rather than the crucial decision for Britain’s future that it is.
“Almost all interventions from heavy-hitting Leave and Remain figures have made people more likely to vote to Leave or had no impact, perhaps an indication in a campaign largely perceived as top-down and Westminster-dominated people are viewing Leave as the anti-establishment ‘option’. Hearing only from polarising or controversial figures could be making voters turn away from the arguments they are hearing, which strengthens the need for the public to have their own mediated debates in communities across the UK, something the ERS and university partners are enabling through our Better Referendum initiative. .
“Party cues are important in referendum campaigns – in complex constitutional matters voters look for guidance from political figures they respect – and party loyalties matter. But interventions from the ‘big beasts’ should go hand in hand with a mature, issues-based and positive debate, alongside grassroots conversations in every part of the UK – the kind of lively discussions we saw with the Scottish referendum. Referendums only work when accompanied by the opportunity for the public to grasp the agenda for themselves.
“The interesting feature of this referendum is that party cues are mixed, with the Conservative party divided and many Labour supporters unsure of Labour’s official position to support Remain. That makes good arguments and the quality of information more important, yet the personality focus and parlour games means people aren’t getting what they are looking for and are ending up more confused. In these last few weeks, it’s time to pull out all the stops and stimulate lively, grassroots conversation the public deserves.”
Nigel Farage’s interventions have had the intended impact, making 22% more likely to vote to Leave, compared to 17% he’s made more likely to vote Remain. However, it has had no impact on 61% of voters, while making 25% of 18-25 year olds more likely to get out and vote Remain. He has encouraged more Conservative voters to opt to Leave (19% to 15%)…while by a factor of 2:1 encouraging more Labour members to vote Remain (32% to 14%). Again, we are seeing a controversial figure galvanise as many to oppose as to support his views.
Nicola Sturgeon has made 15% of people across the UK more likely to vote Leave, to 9% who’ll now be more likely to vote Remain – while 75% of people say her contribution has had no impact on their decision. Although the sample is small, 24% of those in Scotland say her intervention means they’re more likely to vote Leave, to 18% Remain.
Alan Johnson’s intervention has had no impact on 83% of voters, making 10% more likely to vote Leave and 7% more likely to vote Remain, within the margin of error.
Barack Obama’s entry into the campaign made 24% more likely to vote Leave, compared to 16% more likely to stay, although 31% of 18-24 year olds said it made them more likely to vote to Remain.
Finally, Donald Trump’s intervention has had the desired impact, with his call for Britain to Leave making 19% more likely to Leave, compared to 10% it’s made more likely to stay. 70% of people say he’s had no impact on their decision.