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How did different demographic groups vote in the EU referendum?

How did young people, older people, high-income areas and those not born in the UK vote? And what was the turnout for different demographics?

We now know how the country voted as a whole in Thursday's referendum, but how were demographic factors like age, income, and education reflected in the result?

An eve-of-result poll released by YouGov at 10pm last night (which, admittedly, gave Remain a four-point lead) confirms the age/voting intention correlation shown by polls throughout the campaign:

The Guardian has some indicators of other demographic trends, formed by plotting each voting area by how it voted against various socioeconomic factors.

According to these results, areas where more residents had higher education skewed sharply to Remain, while areas where a more had no formal qualifications were slightly more likely to vote Leave.

The median income of an area also showed a loose correlation with results - and areas where the median rose above 30k all chose to Remain, and the lowest income areas voted to Leave: 

Graphics: The Guardian


higher median age meant an area was slightly more likely to vote for Remain, though the correlation is surprisingly weak given YouGov’s age findings. Finally, almost every area where more than 30 per cent of residents were not born in the UK voted to Remain. 

What was voter turnout across age groups?

Update: 26/6: Social media is passing round a stat that only 36 per cent of 18-24 year olds voted. Given that this age group was the most likely to vote Remain, this would imply that if turnout had matched that of higher age groups, Remain coudld have triumphed.

However, it's not quite as simple as that -  this is not real turnout data, and we will in fact never know exactly what proportion of each age group voted. Some quick background: at General Elections, representatives from political parties stand outside polling stations asking for your voting ID number, and collate this information country-wide to figure out who voted (and guess how, based on canvassing data). However, they tend not to at one-off votes, such as referendums, and didn't on Thursday.

The source for the referendum's supposed turnout data is Sky Data, which tweeted this out today:

Sky isn't claiming this is collected data - it's projected, and a subsequent tweet said it was based on "9+/10 certainty to vote, usually/always votes, voted/ineligible at GE2015". I've asked for more information on what this means, but for now it's enough to say it's nothing more than a guess. Others have tried to extrapolate turnout data from an Ashcroft poll, but again, approach with caution: the poll wasn't designed to measure age turnout, so won't have been weighted accordingly.

Graphics from the BBC and FT show that areas with younger populations generally had lower turnout, but that's the closest we have to hard-and-fast data on youth turnout. 


Barbara Speed is comment editor at the i, and was technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman, and a staff writer at CityMetric.

Credit: Getty
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Something is missing from the UK’s draft transition agreement with the EU

The talks could go to extra time.

The European Union has published its draft transition agreement with the United Kingdom, setting out the terms of the standstill period after March 2019, when the UK will have formally left the EU, but its new relationship with the bloc has not yet been negotiated.

There is a lot in there, and the particularly politically-difficult part as far as the government is concerned is fishing: under the agreement, the United Kingdom will remain subject to the Common Fisheries Policy during the period of transition, and two Scottish Conservative MPs, both of whom have large fishing communitiesin their seats, are threatening to vote against the deal as it stands.

But the more interesting part is what isn’t in there: any mechanism to extend the transition should the United Kingdom and the EU be unable to agree a new relationship by 2020. This is something that people on both sides believe is likely to be needed – but as it stands, there is no provision to do so.

The political problem for Theresa May is that some pro-Brexit MPs fear that transition will never end (which is why she persists in calling it an “implementation period” in public, despite the fact it is as clear as day that there will be nothing to be implemented, as the future relationship will only have been agreed in broad outline). So finding the right moment to include the ability to make transition open-ended is tricky.

The danger for the government (and everyone else) is that the moment never arrives, and that the United Kingdom either ends up making a agreement in haste, or not at all, in 2020.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman and the PSA's Journalist of the Year. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.