The number of people who Regrexit may be the difference in the EU referendum vote


'Regrexit' may be slightly more than a nice headline.

We all saw the videos and interviews with people on 24 June, which showed a number of people regretted their vote to leave the European Union in the referendum.

New research by the British Election Study, has found that there may be a little more to this than a few confused individuals.

They asked both sides of the EU vote whether they had any regrets, finding that six per cent of 'Leave' voters did, while this was only the case for only one per cent of 'Remain' voters.

You'll note that this margin is large enough to sway the vote which led us out of the European Union by 52 per cent to 48 per cent.

The research also noted that this six per cent is quite a high proportion for a plebiscite - in the May 2015 election only four per cent of voters regretted how they voted, the highest proportion being Liberal Democrats (eight per cent) and Green voters (six per cent), perhaps because these voters suspected a likely coalition.

Many believed that 'Leave' voters did not really expect to win, and used the vote in protest or to show two fingers to the 'metropolitan liberal elite'.

The research found some truth in this perception - the less likely 'Leave' voters perceived a Brexit to be the more likely they were to regret their vote afterwards.

Picture:Picture: British Election Study

On the other hand, 'Remain' voters were more likely to regret their vote when they felt more certain of losing, perhaps wondering if they had the wrong perception of the EU, or perhaps resenting wasted time.

Eight per cent of 'Leave' voters who expected to lose regretted voting to 'Leave'.

It should be pointed out, however, that 'Leave' voters who expected to lose, were very much in the minority - the 'Leave' camp in general were more confident (64 per cent) of a victory than 'Remain' (62 per cent).

The study concluded:

Overall, the narrative of surprised and regretful Leave voters has some truth but only for a small minority of voters. It also has some truth in the surveys we fielded immediately after the referendum result, but we do not know – yet – whether these feelings of regret will disperse once the implications of Brexit become clearer, or whether they may eventually become accentuated.

The study suggests that if the referendum result were immediately rerun following the result, the result may have changed to 'Remain'.

But as we have heard so many times before from prime minister May:

Brexit means Brexit.

Prime Minister Theresa May makes her keynote address on the fourth day of the Conservative party conferencePicture: Joe Giddens/PA

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