OK, now here is something the LibDems would hate you to know.
Read on McDuff as the saying goes
32% of LibDem voters voted Leave in EU Referendum
Could ¾ million LibDem voters be available to the Brexit Party and the Conservatives?
Usually, I don't spend much time on the LibDems, as they have been consistently anti-Brexit as a party. Sometimes, though, it’s worth taking a look at them — and particularly their voters.
In this article, let's take a quiet peek at the potential opportunity to benefit from all the LibDem voters who — perhaps surprisingly — back Brexit.
Are there large numbers of LibDem voters
who will not vote for the new LibDem “Reverse Brexit” stance?
- In the 2015 general election, the LibDems secured over 2.4 million votes (7.9% of total votes cast)
2. 32% of these voted Leave the following year
3. Going into the 2019 election the LibDems say they will revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU
4. With 32% of 2015 LibDem voters who voted Leave in 2016, that’s ¾ million votes up for grabs by Leave parties.
The LibDem party’s Brexit policies have hardened dramatically since 2015
“A vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to stop Brexit”
“We’re offering voters an easy way to stop Brexit; elect a Liberal Democrat majority government,
which will revoke Article 50”
LibDem website, 04 Nov 2019
EU referendum votes by LibDem voters
The LibDems secured 2,415,916 votes in the 2015 general election under the leadership of Nick Clegg. According to a nationwide survey by YouGov published on 27 June 2016, 32% of these LibDem voters went on to vote for Leave in the EU Referendum, just one year later.
Survey data should always be treated with caution, but surveys of what people actually did tend to be more accurate than surveys of what people might do in the future.
Taking the LibDem vote at the 2015 general election, and applying YouGov’s 32%, this results in the conclusion that 773,000 LibDem voters went on to vote to Leave a year later, in the largest democratic mandate achieved for anything in the history of the United Kingdom.
What has happened to the LibDems Brexit policy since 2016?
In the 2017 LibDem manifesto, the party campaigned on the basis of a second referendum, not a revocation of Article 50.
“Every vote for the Liberal Democrats in this election is a vote to give the final say to the British people.”
- LibDem election manifesto 2017
LibDem voters who believed in Brexit could still vote for the party on the basis that Remain was not inevitable. The party’s policy was for another referendum. It can be assumed that they voted LibDem for many other reasons, other than Brexit.
All this has now changed. Faced with an absolute commitment by the party to revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU come what may, how will Leave-supporting LibDem voters react in the coming election?
There is a great deal of speculation in the media about the discussions taking place between the LibDems, the Greens, Plaid Cymru, even whatever Anna Soubry’s group calls itself these days. They are discussing the possibility of other Remain parties standing back in favour of just one Remain party in some constituencies.
I suspect the ‘Remain Alliance’ will affect far fewer seats than have been talked about, but nevertheless, these talks could be significant in the event of a close vote.
However and this crucial what doesn’t seem to have been talked about at all in the media is the effect on Leave-supporting LibDem voters who are for the first time confronted by their party taking an uncompromising “revoke Brexit” line.
It is possible that hundreds of thousands of pro-Leave LibDem votes might now be up for grabs. It will be interesting to see if the two main parties recognise this.
[ Sources: Electoral Commission | LibDem website | YouGov ]