NEWS21 October 2015

EU referendum set to expose social divisions

Europe News UK

UK — New research from NatCen Social Research suggests that there are significant social differences between voters who want the UK to remain in the EU and those that would like it to leave.


Younger people are reportedly much more likely to want to remain in the EU, as are university graduates; while older people and those without educational qualifications are more inclined to want to leave. The results also reveal that while UKIP supporters are almost universally in favour of leaving the EU, both Conservative and Labour voters are split.

The analysis uses data from NatCen’s British Social Attitudes Survey (BSA), the British Election Study (BES) and a series of recent polls. It has been released to coincide with the launch of a new website — What UK Thinks: Europe — which provides a collection of polling data and commentary on attitudes towards Europe. The initiative is being funded by the Economic and Social Research Council’s The UK in a Changing Europe initiative.

“The British public is seriously divided over Europe,” said Professor John Curtice, senior research fellow at NatCen Social Research. “The referendum is not only going to be a debate about the UK’s future relationship with the EU, but also seems set to expose a significant social division between those who feel they are likely to be winners in an international jobs market and those who do not.

“The outcome will thus tell us a lot about what kind of country we would prefer to be.”