Brexit in graphs

This is a collection of graphs showing how people voted and other interesting statistics. Some you might not have seen and others you definitely will have. I’m not going to include every graph, especially the most common ones, as you will almost certainly have seen them. Please remember to take all the polls with a pinch of salt (only a small sample of people can be asked and it may not be representative, people may have given socially desirable answers, lied, etc.). If there are any graphs you feel I have missed, please comment below and I will add them.

*Please note that while many of these graphs focus on immigration I do not think it’s the only reason (nor, by extension, fear of foreigners) people voted Leave. These graphs are meant to show people’s views and the related data.*


Before the referendum, much was made of the difference between Leave and Remain voters in their rating of the importance of immigration for their decision.2016-06-26 (5)

For all those surveyed, immigration was the most important issue but it was closely followed by the impact on the economy.

Important issues

Prior to the referendum, Leave voters were far more likely to say immigration has had a negative impact on “Britain as a whole”.2016-06-26 (6)When asked if they had been personally affected, that number dropped.personallySome people have argued that many people’s belief that there are too many immigrants in Britain is new. But British people have thought there were too many immigrants for decades. If anything, the belief that there are too many immigrants is in decline. Too many immigrantsBut surveyed after they had voted, a different story was presented. 49% of leave voters said the biggest single reason for wanting to leave the EU was “the principle that decisions about the UK should be taken in the UK”. 33% said the main reason was that leaving “offered the best chance for the UK to regain control over immigration and its own borders.” 13% said remaining would mean having no choice “about how the EU expanded its membership or its powers in the years ahead.” (Ashcroft, 2016).Leave-vs-Remain-podium-rankings-768x989This was supported by a ComRes poll conducted on the 24th which found:  “the ability of Britain to make its own laws is cited by Leave voters as the most important issue when deciding which way to vote (53%), ahead of immigration (34%).” (Comres, 2016).

But what does the data tell us about the impact of immigration?

Immigration has dramatically increased in the last decade or so. Immigration increase

Yet there appears to be no negative effect on people’s wages or employment due to increased immigration.

2016-06-26 (3)2016-06-26 (4)

Many on the Leave side have argued people voted to Leave because they had been adversely affected by immigration. If voters backed Leave because they had suffered from increased immigration, you would expect to see a correlation between voting Leave and a decrease in hourly earnings. But there is no correlation. This is evidence against (but not a refutation) of the idea people voted Leave as rational response to the negative economic effects they had suffered as a result of immigration.No correlation between wage fall and Leave vote

Education and voting patterns:

Whilst education level was the strongest correlation for voting Remain, it’s not as simple as “stupid people voted to leave”. Areas with lower education levels also reflect areas that have borne the brunt of economic hardship. They are therefore more likely to have unfavourable views of the status-quo (which has not helped them in the past) and, by extension, the Remain campaign. image

Dependency on the EU and voting patterns:imageThe graph below shows which areas were given funding by the EU over different time periods.

imageCiaran Jenkins (2016).

Income and voting patterns:

There was a negative correlation between income and remain voting; those who earned less were more likely to vote Leave.


Personality and voting patterns:

A strong correlation (r=-0.67) was found between openness (which is about being open to new experiences, “having wide interests, and being imaginative and insightful”; Srivastava, 2016) and voting Leave. Areas that had a higher concentration of people scoring highly on openness were more likely to vote Remain. 2016-06-29

Correlations between certain personality factors and voting behaviour was also found by Eric Kauffman. He analysed participant’s voting behaviour and compared it with their answers for questions that examined their authoritarianism (which is how in favour someone is of obeying authority among other things). There was almost no correlation between income but there was a correlation between voting Leave and agreeing that the death penalty is appropriate for certain crimes (for whites only).2016-06-29 (1)

Views on social issues:

For this graph, people were asked whether they thought different social issues were a force for “good” or “ill”. After that, they stated which way they voted (Leave or Remain). So it shows what percentage of people voted for Leave or Remain, given their views on different issues. It is not a poll showing how people who voted Leave or Remain view these issues. E.g. it doesn’t show 81% of Leave voters think multiculturalism is a “force for ill”. It shows that of those who think multiculturalism is a “force for ill”, 81% voted Leave. So those who hold that view were more likely to vote Leave.Cl27HTgWEAENWEcWhy so many scientists are anti-Brexit:

Britain receives a lot of funding from the EU and it is uncertain how much we would receive afterwards (though it will almost certainly decrease).

EU science funding

Voter turnout and satisfaction:

These two aren’t graphs (yet…) but they are important, especially the first. Whilst it’s true the elderly overwhelming voted Leave and the young voted Remain, the (estimated) turnout from young people was very low. So the meme of “it’s completely the old people’s fault!” isn’t totally accurate.

This was further supported by this graph which shows a correlation between age and voter turnout for different areas.


Rather unsurprisingly, Leave voters were happier than Remain voters. But it appears the vast majority of Leave voters were happy with only 1% (of those sampled) stating they were unhappy with the result. This puts the anecdotes of people voting Leave without properly thinking it through and then worrying about the consequences in context.


Despite the startling drop in the FTSE 100, it wasn’t any lower than 7 days earlier (though it got there in a more eye-catching way). As some have correctly pointed out, the FTSE 100 has recovered significantly since the initial drop. But that’s only because the pound has been devalued so it is an artificial recovery.  ftse 100

The drop in the value of the pound though was more serious when compared with the long-term trends, as it dropped to the second lowest it has ever been.

2016-06-27 (2)Compared with the Euro it’s not doing as badly, though the Euro has been struggling for years and the climb seen at the start of the graph is the result of recovering from the 2008 financial crash.2016-07-04


Ashcroft, M. (2016). How the United Kingdom voted on Thursday… and why. [online] Available at:

Burn-Murdoch, J. (2016). Brexit: voter turnout by age. [online] Available at:

ComRes. (2016). SUNDAY MIRROR POST REFERENDUM POLL. [online] Available at:

The Economist. (2016). The European experiment. [online] Available at:

Ipsos-MORI (2016). Final Referendum Poll. [online] Available at:

Ipsos-MORI (2016). Just one in five Britons say EU immigration has had a negative effect on them personally. [online] Available at:

Jenkins, C. (2016). [online] Available at:

Krueger, J. I. (2016). The Personality of Brexit Voters. [online] Available at:

Kaufmann, E. (2016). [online] Available at:

Sky Data (2016). [online] Available at:

Srivastava, S. (2016). Measuring the Big Five Personality Factors. Retrieved [2016] from

Taub, A. (2016). Making Sense of ‘Brexit’ in 4 Charts. [online] Available at:

Vox (2016). Brexit was fueled by irrational xenophobia, not real economic grievances. [online] Available at:

4 responses to “Brexit in graphs”

  1. Thanks for compiling all these charts and statistics. It’s interesting that none of the polls prior to the vote asked the important question about sovereignty yet it transpired that that was the most important factor for the majority of people who voted Leave. You might like to add the ComRes poll published in the Sunday Mirror which showed that 53% of Leave voters thought that the ability of Britain to make its own laws was the most important issue:


    1. Thank you. And thank you for the other poll, I’ll add that to the page

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It might also be useful to add the long-term trends of the FTSE and the pound/Euro exchange rate. I don’t have sources but Carol Vorderman tweeted these two charts;


      2. I put the short-term trend of the FTSE 100 and the long-term of the £/$ but I agree those two would be good additions under the “economics” section

        Liked by 1 person

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