There are now less than two weeks until Britons will vote on whether to remain in the European Union. According to the most recent opinion polls, Remain is in the lead but the contest is really, really close.
However, that could very soon be about to change. In referendums held in Britain in years gone by there has pretty much always been a swing towards the status quo option with just days left until voting day.
This trend was explained in a blog post published earlier this week by former YouGov president Peter Kellner and then visualised by Matthew Smith, Head of Digital at WPI Strategy, in the charts below.
As the charts show, in five out of six referendums held in Britain since 1975, support for the status quo options clearly grew the closer it got to voting day.
(The Scottish independence referendum isn’t included in the graphic as Matthew wasn’t able to get hold of the data.)
The only exception was the Scottish devolution referendum held in 1997. Kellner says in his blog that this was because unlike the other referendums, virtually everyone in the Scotland agreed on the desired outcome long before it was time to vote.
The main reason for this trend is probably because people who are undecided or have no passionate view on an issue are likely to vote for the status quo option as it seems less risky. That’s what polling analyst Matt Singh told Business Insider in an interview last month.
There is good reason to suspect that this trend will be repeated in the short time that remains until the day of the EU referendum.
As Business Insider pointed out last week, opinion polls released since mid-May have shown that undecided voters are gradually starting to lean towards the Remain vote.
If this trend continues over the 12 days that remain until June 23, then Remain campaigners should wake up on June 23 confident that a Brexit will not be taking place.
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