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    The malaise of the squeezed middle: challenging the narrative of the 'left behind' Brexiter

    Antonucci, L. and Horvath, Laszlo and Kutiyski, Y. and Krouwel, A. (2017) The malaise of the squeezed middle: challenging the narrative of the 'left behind' Brexiter. Competition & Change 21 (3), pp. 211-229. ISSN 1024-5294.

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    The result of the referendum in the United Kingdom in 2016 to leave the European Union sparked much interest on the socio-economic characteristics of ‘Brexiters’. In this article, we challenge the popularized view of the Leave voter as an outsider and find that individuals from an intermediate class, whose malaise is due to a declining financial position, represent an important segment of the Brexit vote. We use individual-level data from a post-Brexit survey based on the British Election Study. Our analysis tests three predictive models. First, although our analysis confirms the negative association between education and Leave vote, we find that voting Leave is associated more with intermediate levels of education than with low or absent education, in particular in the presence of a perceived declining economic position. Secondly, we find that Brexiters hold distinct psycho-social features of malaise due to declining economic conditions, rather than anxiety or anger. Thirdly, our exploratory model finds voting Leave associated with self-identification as middle class, rather than with working class. We also find that intermediate levels of income were not more likely to vote for remain than low income groups. Overall our analysis of the Brexit vote underlines the importance of considering the political behaviour of the declining middle.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Birkbeck Interdisciplinary Research in Media and Culture (BIRMAC) (Closed)
    Depositing User: Laszlo Horvath
    Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2022 11:34
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:12


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