Brexit: 80% of Students would vote remain if there was a second referendum

Brexit 2018

During a time of Brexit deal negotiations, we asked for your opinions and views on the matter, so THANK YOU to all of you who took part! Below are the results followed by your views.

Key finding

  • Around 78% of students think it was the WRONG decision to vote to leave the EU
  • Students argue that the public were not educated enough about what Brexit entails before voting
  • Over 77% students would vote remain if there was another referendum on Britain leaving the EU
  • Everyone needs to work together to achieve the best deal possible instead of fighting as it's not going to stop Brexit from happening
  • 60% of students are very worried if Britain leaves the EU without a deal
  • 42% students think the UK economy will be much worse after Britain leaves the EU
  • Some agree with the concept of leaving the EU however, do not agree with a divided government in charge of negotiating the exit

Background

On Thursday 23 June 2016, a referendum was held to decide whether the UK should leave or remain in the European Union.

The UK voted to leave the EU by 51.9% to 48.1%. Leave won the majority of votes in England and Wales, while every council in Scotland saw Remain majorities. The referendum turnout was 71.8%.

For the UK to leave the EU it had to request Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty which gives the two sides two years to agree the terms of the split. Theresa May started this process on 29 March, 2017, meaning the UK is scheduled to leave on Friday, 29 March 2019.

As things stand, Britain is leaving the European Union, although government ministers have started warning that Brexit might not happen if their plan for it is not backed by MPs when they vote on it.

QUESTION 1: How did you vote in the Brexit referendum in 2016?

We asked our student audience how they voted in the 2016 referendum and found the majority of respondents voted ‘remain’ (61.29%), 19.03% voted ‘leave’ and a surprising 19.68% did not vote. However, we must take into consideration that people outside the UK took part in this poll to share their views and therefore, did not vote.

Respondents comments:
“Shouldn't have been a referendum to begin with”
“I agree with the concept of leaving the EU. I do not agree with a divided, childish and deceptive government in charge of negotiating the exit. People who never wanted to leave in the first place can not provide a ‘good’ Brexit deal”
“While I did not initially vote, at the time I probably would have voted to remain. I think that the attitude shown by the EU is akin to that of a schoolyard bully, and in handing over anything to them with a deal is just succumbing to pressures that are needless. Leaving with a No Deal Brexit deal is preferable to staying in, or making a deal where we hand over anything to the EU at all. Theresa May is brave for sticking to her guns, and I understand the place in which she is coming from with the deal she has proposed, but the Conservative party - and the country as a whole - would be better served with a different leader now. Doesn't she look tired?”

QUESTION 2: In hindsight, do you think Britain was right or wrong to vote to leave the EU?

78.53% of responders answered that it was the wrong decision to vote to leave the EU, compared to 19.55% who believe it was the right decision. Over 2% were unsure whether the vote result was right or wrong.

Respondents comments:
“It was not thought out before the referendum what would happen if we voted to leave so now we are leaving, no one knows what to do. Also no one has asked the people what they want from the deal, MPs need to be more easily accessible to their constituents”
“We have been betrayed and lied to. May is a remainer”
“People voting didn’t have enough information about what Brexit entails”

QUESTION 3: If you could rewind back to the first Brexit referendum, would you change your vote?

Reflecting on their Brexit vote, over 84% answered that they would not change their vote, whereas, around 12% would change their vote if they could rewind back to the referendum. A small 2% of the respondents “don’t know” what action they would take.

Respondents comments:
“It would be better not to have had the referendum at all, then it would have been best for remain to win. Having had the vote with leave winning we have to leave. Another referendum will only solidify the divisions that have been crowbarred open by the last referendum. We can make the best of Brexit with a new prime minister and a new cabinet, but we cannot undo the 2016 result or ignore the people who voted for Brexit. The people's vote campaigners seem to have forgotten that the resounding cry from the leave voters was that they were fed up of being ignored, or having their opinions and views dismissed and they saw the referendum as a chance to be heard. Take their voice away again by going back on the referendum and there will be sure consequences for our country for generations to come”
“There is little to no political education in schools, even less on the EU and the UK press has been reporting biased and often incorrect stories on the EU for decades. That is not a conducive situation to the public being able to make a good judgment on the matter - that doesn't mean anybody is 'thick' just that the background information upon which to form an opinion is lacking”
“Voting to stay or leave was too simplistic a choice and the media haven't helped people to understand the current deal on offer any more clearly”

QUESTION 4: If there was another referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU, how would you vote?

Another EU referendum can only happen if the government brings forward legislation to hold one and a majority in the Commons supports it. This is a possible scenario if May can’t get the deal through the Commons.

When we asked our audience how they would vote in a second referendum, 77.24% answered ‘remain’, 20.83% answered ‘leave’ and 1.92% were unsure.

Comparing our results with question one - “How did you vote in the Brexit referendum in 2016”, over 15% of the respondents changed their mind and voted to ‘remain’ rather than ‘leave’.

Respondents comments:
“We are supposed to be the exporters of democracy. We get angry when other governments have another vote to 'get the result they want' (Scottish independence, for example). Yet here we are, angry that we aren't having another vote. Hypocrisy of liberals around the country distinctly on show. People who haven't been heard for a generation finally 'have their say' and we don't like it, so we try to overturn it... I would say I'm surprised, but I'm really not”
“Don't want another referendum. Mrs May deal seems fair so let's back it”
“Another referendum urgently needed. Am Not impressed by either main party and politicians playing party politics rather than acting for the good of the country”

QUESTION 5: How much would you say you know about what is in the draft Brexit deal agreed between the government and the EU?

After months of negotiation, the UK and EU have agreed a Brexit deal. It comes in two parts - a 585-page withdrawal agreement that sets the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU and a 26-page statement on future relations.

48.87% of responders said they know a bit about the agreement and 21.86% answered that they know a great deal about the Brexit deal. A small amount did not know much about the agreement.

Respondents comments:
“I spent 6 months researching the UK membership of the EU before the referendum was held. I was struck by how ignorant many of my peers (I was 24 at the time) were of the facts”
“The MPs and staff should be working together to get the best deal for the UK and NOT looking after their own jobs and arguing amongst themselves to better themselves and NOT the UK. We should have had a better deal if everyone was pulling together, it is very, very complex and needs everyone to work together and not go backwards just because the outcome was not what they wanted. THE PUBLIC VOTED - ACT ON IT”
“There is no good deal because it's the wrong decision!”
“Everyone needs to work together and achieve the best deal possible instead of fighting against brexit as it isn't going to stop it from happening”

QUESTION 6: How worried would you be if Britain leaves the EU without a deal?

Brexiteers says this deal is not what people voted for and some even argued that it would be even worse than staying in the EU. If May’s deal is voted down, Britain risks leaving without a deal (which is feared by many MPs) or she says there will be “no Brexit at all”.

The majority of our respondents said they would be ‘very worried’ if Britain leaves the EU without a deal. 8.33% answered ‘not very worried’ and 9.94% said ‘not worried at all’. 2.56% of respondents are unsure of what the outcome would be.

Respondents comments:
“I don't really know what impact it will have but it does not sound good and sounds like a kerfuffle and it's as if they really didn't think through the possibility that people would actually vote to leave”
“I believe Theresa May's deal has gone against the result of the referendum and should be rejected by anyone with a say on the exit deal. The people voted to leave and May's deal seems to be an in-name-only exit. A 'no deal' Brexit would be far less harmful than the current deal and would reflect the will of the public, as opposed to being an attack on democracy”
“People should have been given more information on how the outcome would change the country and the economy before voting. Now the outcome is more clear, people should be given the opportunity to vote again”

QUESTION 7: Do you think the UK economy will be better or worse after Britain leaves the EU?

Respondents comments:
“It’s already started to affect us, I’m a freelancer in business and even I’m seeing it. We need to remain!”
“It is well documented and acknowledged that a vast number of this who voted leave did not understand the issues or implications of leaving the EU (and indeed many of them benefit enormously from EU funding) but rather voted leave as an expression of frustration at not being heard.”
“Preceding with Brexit as we are now seems to be to be absolutely undemocratic and supports a corrupt campaign, the latter of which has bleak implications for future elections and referendums.”

QUESTION 8: If Theresa May resigned and was replaced by a different leader, do you think that leader could probably get a better deal or not?

Labour and all the other opposition parties have said they will vote against May’s deal, as well as dozens of Conservative MPs. Theresa May has experienced huge backlash.

68.39% of our respondents believe that if May was replaced by a different leader, the new leader would probably not deliver a better exit deal. Compared to 19% who believe a new leader would probably get a better deal. 12.58% are unsure.

Respondents comments:
“I believe Theresa May should stay as Prime Minister as she is putting the country first, something none of the rest are doing”
“I strongly believe that May should step down as leader, no conservative would vote for an election, so they should ensure a Leave backing Conservative takes Britain through the Brexit that was promised in their manifesto - they risk disillusionment of the young voters that wanted free of the EU, if they do not”
“If May is replaced now, it might be a bit too late. A change like that always create more instability and wouldn't be very beneficial to a potential deal. I think the best scenario for the UK is if it gets a deal, where it remains as a EEA/ ETFA state. This might actually be favorable to UK's economy in the long term. As an EU citizen, however, I am worried about my future prospects as someone who wants to build a career in the UK”

QUESTION 9: Over the last few weeks, would you say your opinion of those campaigning for Brexit has become more positive or more negative?

Brexit is complicated by the fact that it has never been done before and negotiators are working on it as they go along - picking to pieces 43 years of treaties and agreements. Not to mention that it needs the approval of more than 30 national and regional parliaments across Europe. With the media focusing on the subject of Brexit, people can’t help but feel uneasy and believe agreements are so up in the air.

Our survey showed over half of our respondents have a more negative opinion of those campaigning for Brexit. With over 27% of opinions staying the same.

Respondents comments:
“Stop messing about and respect the views of the majority, or do we challenge every result that a minority doesn’t agree with, democracy at its finest!”
“Brexit is a farce. Allowing people to be duped by flagrant lies and then converting that into some kind of mandate to act in the name of “the will of the people” has completely undermined my faith in the concept of a referendum. There is a huge problem of irresponsible politics in this country and that will continue to be the case for as long as such lies go unpunished. Unfortunately everyone wants to champion an opposition cause in politics these days - which is unproductive and nonsensical. We cannot fool ourselves into thinking Brexit could be a success while America is regressing towards such a protectionist economic stance as well. The best way out of this mess is to withdraw from the withdrawal - whether by a people’s vote or through politicians showing some backbone instead of bending to the will of the (deceived) people”
“Even during the campaigning before the vote, it was clear that there was so much crossover, and the structures and roots of the countries at the forefront of the EU were so intertwined that leaving Europe would be in the interests of no-one. Ironic really that Mr Trump suggests that we should take back control of our laws and borders when he is in charge of the largest federation in the world. A united states of Europe - there's something that does have a ring to it”

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