Six Things We Know About EU Referendum Campaigns

Interesting comments on referendums authored by academics from the University of Sussex, although it seems to me that the thing that most affects the outcome of a referendum is how many people vote on each side…



Kai Oppermann and Paul Taggart

Donald Rumsfeld famously talked about ‘known knowns’ and ‘known unknowns’. Looking systematically at referendums and at the experience of these in Europe, we can learn from what has happened in other European referendums to help us in looking at what may happen in the UK’s referendum on EU membership. There may be uncertainty ahead but we can know what we don’t know from previous experience. We suggest that there are six lessons we can learn

  1. Referendum outcomes are hard to predict

The one ‘known known’ we have is the state of the polls at the outset. But early in the campaign, opinion polls tell us very little about what the outcome of the referendum will be on 23 June. Around 20% of voters are still undecided. More than that, voting behaviour in referendums is much less settled and more fluid than in general elections. This…

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One Response to “Six Things We Know About EU Referendum Campaigns”

  1. Good post, it is indeed hard to predict and as someone who is very much in the remain camp, I am worried about complacency. The rather silly sound bites of Johnson (B), and the rather dishonest ones of Gove and IDS appeal to far too many people for my liking.

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