Leave voters dying and Remainers reaching voting age means majority will soon oppose Brexit, study finds

Demographic changes mean number of Remain supporters grows by 235,000 each year, while number of Leave backers falls by 260,000 

Benjamin Kentish
Political Correspondent
Monday 17 September 2018 17:32 BST
Crowds calling for a second referendum gather in central London at a demonstration earlier this summer
Crowds calling for a second referendum gather in central London at a demonstration earlier this summer

A majority of British voters will soon back staying in the EU as more Leave backers die and Remain supporters reach voting age, according to a new study.

Analysis by the former president of YouGov found demographic changes mean around half a million fewer people each year, or around 1,350 a day, now support Brexit – meaning there will soon be enough to overturn the Brexit vote if there was a second referendum.

Even if no one had changed their mind since the 2016 referendum, population changes mean that, from 19 January 2019, a majority of voters will back staying in the EU, according to the analysis. By 29 March, when Britain is due to leave the bloc, the Remain side is forecast to have a majority of around 100,000.

Peter Kellner, YouGov’s former president, said the finding supported calls for the public to be given a Final Say on Brexit.

Writing for The Independent, he said: “Early next year, Britain will switch from a pro-Brexit to an anti-Brexit country. To be more precise: if not a single voter in the referendum two years ago changes their mind, enough mainly Leave voters will have died and enough mainly Remain voters will have reached voting age to wipe out the Leave majority achieved in June 2016.

“This means that by 29 March, it will be difficult to sustain the argument that the settled view of the British electorate is that Brexit should take place. We are told that we should ‘respect the verdict of the people’, and not reopen the decision they – we – reached in 2016.

“The latest research shows that this depends not only on the proposition that voters cannot change their minds, but on a specific definition of ‘the people’.”

The analysis found that an extra 235,000 Remain voters join the electorate each year, as 395,000 reach voting age and 160,000 die.

At the same time, the number of Leave supporters falls by 260,000 a year. 320,000 die and just 60,000 reach voting age.

YouGov found that young people who did not vote in the 2016 referendum are particularly supportive of calls for another poll.

Among under-25s who did not vote in 2016 but would be certain to do so in a new referendum, 82 per cent said they would back Remain.

And 75 per cent of people who were too young to vote in 2016 say they want a Final Say vote.

Around 87 per cent of under-25s would now vote to stay the EU.

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