Would another referendum yield a different result?
With the Supreme Court reaffirming the judgement handed down by the High Court today, ruling that the government must proceed with Brexit through Parliament, the debate about a second referendum has raised its tedious head again.
Leavers have asserted that theirs is the will of the people and that even Remainers are moving towards Brexit. Meanwhile, those who voted Remain are convinced that people have realised the error of their ways and that some former Leavers are now in favour of Remain.
Neither is true.
Let's be clear: if there were another referendum today, the result would very likely be the same.
The graphic below shows the YouGov Brexit polls from the start of 2016, the day of the referendum which gave the Leave side a 4 point lead. It shows that apart from a wobble in late November, the Leave side of the argument has been ahead of the Remain side of the argument right from the end of June until now. In fact, in the very last poll shows the Remain side has the same 4 point deficit it had all those months ago. Now, since the referendum, the question has understandably changed from 'do you think Britain should leave or remain inside the EU?' to 'Was it right or wrong for Britain to vote to leave the EU?', but it's reasonable to assume these two questions correspond with each other in terms of voter response.
But what underlies this steady poll lead for Leave? Have some Leavers and Remainers switched sides in equal measure, or have supporters of both sides stayed rigidly on the same side as before?
The latter, it seems: Check out the graphic below which shows the same poll question - whether or not we were right to vote to leave the EU - but this time, answered only by Remainers.
What it shows, very clearly, is that Remainers are still extremely opposed to Brexit: 88% of these voters over the last months have said that Britain was wrong to leave the EU. Remainers who now think we were right to leave only make up around 5-ish percent of the total, with 'Don't Know' polling around 7-8%.
Leavers are even more confident. Of these voters - the graphic for whom is displayed below - just over 90% on average think we were right to leave. With the percentages for 'switchers' (Leavers who now back Remain) and 'Don't Know's being roughly the same as for the Remain side.
The total effect, then, is that the margin of Leave's lead is the same now as it was back in June. While the Don't Know figure has increased a little - owing to the slight increase in the percentage of Remainers moving into the 'unsure' column - another referendum would likely yield the same result now as it did before.
We hope this has cleared up this debate. Of course, if the numbers change, we'll let you know...