What are the issues that matter most to voters in the EU referendum? This paper
addresses this question by looking at what, according to recent polls, appear to be the
issues that most divide those who wish to Leave and those who would prefer to Remain.
We discover that, above all, it is the arguments between the two campaigns about the
consequences of being in or out of the EU for the economy and for immigration on which
the two sets of supporters most disagree with each other. However, that does not mean
they are always as convinced of the arguments being put forward by their own side as
perhaps referendum campaigners might wish.
Economic consequences of the EU
Remain and Leave voters hold very different views on the economic consequences of the EU.
Fifty-nine percent of Leave voters think Britain would be better off if we left the EU, but 73% of
Remain voters think we would be worse off.
The EU and immigration
The two sets of voters also hold very different views on what leaving the EU would mean for
immigration. Whereas 65% of Leave voters believe we will never be able to control immigration
unless we leave the EU, 56% of Remain voters reckon we will not be able to control immigration
even if we leave the EU.
Immigration stronger pull for Leavers
However, a significant minority of Leave voters (32%) think that withdrawing would make no
difference economically. But Leave voters are more united on immigration. No less than 92%
would like to limit EU migration through the introduction of a points system.
The Two Poles of the Referendum Debate: Immigration and the Economy