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Second thoughts on Europe: After Brexit, Bregret

Posted by hkarner - 15. Oktober 2016

Date: 14-10-2016
Source: The Economist

A minority of Leavers have changed their minds. Others are bailing out

SINCE the Brexit referendum victory on June 23rd by 52% to 48%, the Leave side has told “Remoaners” to stop whingeing about the result: the win was slim but clear enough. Yet new evidence suggests that more than a few Leavers are having second thoughts about how they cast their ballots.

The British Election Study, a long-running panel survey, asked voters in July whether they regretted their choice. Only 1% of Remainers did; another 1% of them were unsure. Among Leavers, 6% wished they had not voted the way they did, and a further 4% were in two minds.

That may not be much—and the authors point out that voters for the winning side feel some regret after most elections—but it suggests that the slim pro-Brexit majority had evaporated within a month of the referendum. Remorse was strongest among Leavers who didn’t expect their side to win, adding some weight to the idea that many were motivated by frustration with the establishment rather than by Euroscepticism.bregretsSome Britons are voting with their feet. The Irish foreign ministry reports that since the referendum passport applications in Britain have risen to double their level last year. An Irish passport will enable continued freedom of movement within the EU.

Anyone with a parent or grandparent born on the island of Ireland (including Northern Ireland) is entitled to one. On that basis, upwards of 6m Britons are eligible—enough to double the number of Irish citizens. Remainers’ eyes may not be smiling, but some will yet have a twinkle in them.

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