How The Brexit Divided Voters, A Breakdown

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It was weird going to bed last night, wasn't it? Weird knowing that, in the morning, you were going to wake up either relieved or devastated. But despite that knowledge, nothing could prepare Remain voters for the feelings of shock, fear, grief and shame that were waiting for us while we slept. By its very nature, a referendum seeks to polarise opinion – it's a yes or no question, after all – and for many, the results have sliced a nation in two. The morning was filled with resentment – resentment mostly, from the 48% who voted to Remain, towards the 52% who voted out. The results were, of course, knuckle-bitingly tight, which on face value, makes the overwhelming mass of people who got off their arse to vote look like it was split right down the middle. But it's not quite as clear cut as that; while the vote was ostensibly about whether we wanted to stay in or leave Europe, we were being asked a question which encompassed so much more about contemporary politics, and the result revealed a nation divided – by age, education, class and income. As a Londoner – where 59.9% of people wanted to remain in Europe – as someone who is university educated, and as someone who falls into the 25-49 age bracket, I represent a stereotypical Remain voter. Voting breakdown by demographic today revealed that, as predicted, education, age, income and class all played major parts in which way we voted.

The Telegraph
reported that, the higher the level of education, the higher the EU support, with university-educated Brits overwhelmingly voting to remain, while those with no formal qualifications voted to leave. Elsewhere, analysis from the Guardian showed a loose correlation with median income and vote, with those earning above £30k choosing to remain, and those earning below more likely to want to leave. Although it's not yet possible to tell if more or less men voted than women, there's no doubt the debate leading up to yesterday's vote was dominated by men. Women have been sidelined in this referendum, which is something that has to change as we try and navigate what happens next.

Across the North East, voters wanted out of the EU – 11 areas voted to leave, with only Newcastle voting to remain, and only then by 1%

When we start to take a closer look at the differences in voting outcome, the geographical variances are particularly glaring. England, save for London, resolutely does not want to be in Europe. Across the North East, voters wanted out of the EU – 11 areas voted to leave, with only Newcastle voting to remain, and only then by 1%. Outside of England, 62% of people in Scotland voted to remain, while in Northern Ireland 56% of voters said they wanted to stay in. In Wales, however, 52% of the electorate voted to leave, which – as news website Wales Online pointed out – shocked many people who considered the country to be far less Eurosceptic than England. Why were the votes skewed this way? "I think people in the highly-deprived areas of the North East are expressing their frustration," former business secretary and Remain campaigner Sir Vince Cable told the BBC, of the reasons behind the overwhelming thumbs up for Leave. He, like other critics put "Out" votes largely down to poverty and a sense of disenfranchisement. Bridget Philipson, the Labour MP for Houghton and Sunderland South, expressed a similar sentiment: "It is a reflection on the fact that people in the North East feel that time and time again we're left behind." She added, "When it comes to jobs and investment, support from this government is found to be lacking." It's little surprise, when there is such a staggering disconnect between the beliefs of people in the capital and the rest of the country, that petitions have already been started to make this division official, to let London stay with Europe and separate from the rest of the UK. One petition to call for London to divorce from the UK and stay in the EU has racked up over 40,000 signatures. Nor is it a surprise, or such a pipe dream, that Scotland wants to go out on its own too, with Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party expressing that a referendum over Scottish independence would be "highly likely", the BBC reports. Both Scotland and Northern Ireland, which was also pro-Remain, would be welcomed by the EU, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said, according to the Financial Times.
But perhaps it's the schism in voting behaviour between young and old that has proved the most galling – and unfair – for some. The polls have always been clear that the over 60s were the most likely age group to vote for Brexit, and today's result has proved them right.

75% of 18-24 year-olds voted to remain

Speaking on the Today Programme earlier this morning, President of the EU, Martin Schulz said that, the economy aside, there was one other figure revealed by the referendum that he was struck by: the fact that 75% of 18-24 year-olds voted to remain. "The feeling of the young people is 'our future is better within than outside'," he said. On average, those under 24 will live with this decision, and its repercussions, whatever they turn out to be, for the next 69 years, as a survey by YouGov shows. Those who are over 65, have less than twenty, which has prompted many to express their frustration at the "baby boomers screwing the younger generations over yet again," as read one angry Tweet. While we might be able to draw conjecture about why different people in different parts of Britain voted the way they did, based on the local culture and local economy, even the experts have found it hard to pinpoint exactly why a disparate demographic of 18-24 year olds across the country so predominantly wanted to stay in the EU. For me, listening to economic and political experts gave me the extra confidence that my decision was the right one, but I had long before made up my mind based on a gut feeling, from the heart. In fact, I didn't need to make a decision at all. And despite all the valid arguments in favour of Remain, I could not easily tell you now with facts and stats why I so fervently want to stay in the EU. I expect that is the same of some Leave voters, too. So that we have in common.
There's no denying that for those of us in the remain camp, this is a crushing day. But if we're going to be able to move on from this, we all need to better understand each other's positions. Otherwise we'll not only be without Europe, but we'll be without each other too. Many of us younger Britons did not want to leave the EU, but if we want to prevent further fracturing, this can't continue to be the "us" versus "them" scenario it became throughout the Brexit campaign. It should not be an exercise in blame, but a moment to ask how we got here.

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