If Remain want our votes they have to make it personal
An article in today’s Telegraph should act as a spur to everyone in the Remain camp. Lynton Crosby – The Wizard of Oz – has been looking behind the poll numbers to gauge the motivation of supporters of Leave and Remain to go out and vote. The results which point to a possible Brexit, are not promising for fans of statutory paid holiday entitlement, equal treatment for part-time workers and work-life balance rights.
While the country is roughly evenly divided between Leave (49%) and Remain (47%), when motivation to go out and vote is factored in, Leave leaps ahead. Seventy-nine per cent of Leave supporters said they would be certain to vote if the referendum were held today. Only 72% of Remain voters said the same. Factoring in motivation gives the Leave campaign a seven point lead over Remain (52% versus 45%).
Crosby examined the factors driving voters’ decisions. Over one third of Leave voters are driven by a concern over immigration (37%), and a little under a third of Remain voters are worried about the economic consequences of Brexit (31%). So far, it feels like both sides are talking to the roughly a third of their supporters whose decision hangs on immigration or GDP.
Regardless of their instinctive preference, voters do not feel they have enough information to make a decision, 48%of all voters express this concern. The stats imply that there is a sizeable middle-ground of undecideds and soft supporters who will be swung decisively one way or another by the side that gives them a convincing case and provides the facts to back it up.
The referendum is about much more than simply whether GDP, or net migration, goes up or down on the y axis. Membership of the EU guarantees rights and benefits to working people in the UK that would be called into question should we exit. Legislation unions have won from Europe ensures that part-time workers receive the same pro-rata pay and conditions as those on full-time contracts. It ensures that workers get a minimum level of paid holiday each year and has helped curb the long-hours culture that, although still a problem in the UK, might get even worse if the working time regulations were repealed.
In the coming weeks the TUC will be campaigning to ensure these issues feature in the debate. When the decision is taken on the 23rd of June, it must not be simply on the basis of immigration or the economic bottom line.