Referendums on Membership and European Integration 1972–2015

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    Abstract

    There are many myths about referendums. The most common one is that voters are inherently sceptical and tend to vote no when given the opportunity. This article analyses some of the commonly held ‘truths’ about referendums on EU matters. Based on a statistical analysis of all forty-three EU-related referendums since 1972, it shows that governments tend to lose referendums if they have been in office for a long time, that emotive words on the ballot paper are correlated with a high yes vote and that a high turnout is correlated with a vote against European integration, but campaign spending is inconsequential. Based solely on statistical evidence from the previous forty-three referendums, the opponents of EU membership will win the Brexit referendum.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)61-68
    Number of pages8
    JournalThe Political Quarterly
    Volume87
    Issue number1
    Early online date18 Jan 2016
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016

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    Keywords

    • Brexit referendum
    • referendums
    • European Union
    • Brexit
    • EU referendums

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