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    As we like it: did the UK’s 2016 EU referendum reveal the “Will of the People?”

    Ahlstrom-Vij, Kristoffer and Allen, W. (2023) As we like it: did the UK’s 2016 EU referendum reveal the “Will of the People?”. PS: Political Science and Politics , ISSN 1049-0965.

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    Since the UK’s 2016 referendum on EU membership, politicians on both sides of the debate have repeatedly invoked the “will of the people,” either to claim that the matter is settled or to justify the need for subsequent confirmatory action. Following a long tradition of information effects research in political science, we argue that the extent to which voters are informed about politically relevant issues is a key factor in evaluating whether any given result accurately reflects an electorate’s collective “will.” By using counterfactual modeling applied to British Election Study data, we estimate that support for leaving the EU would have dropped by 7-10 percentage points, had voters been more fully informed. More generally, in the context of relatively infrequent referenda, we suggest that such models can usefully indicate the sensitivity of outcomes to different levels of information, and allow legislators to gauge the extent to which a given outcome likely reflects voters’ collective will.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Historical Studies
    Depositing User: Kristoffer Ahlstrom-Vij
    Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2021 13:55
    Last Modified: 05 Oct 2023 08:41


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