I read an interesting article and came across a YouGov poll, the gist of which I thought would be worth passing on. The first was an article by pollster Peter Kellner in The New European.

Based on an analysis of demographic change, Kellner concludes that the Leave majority will disappear in January 2019. His analysis points out that approximately 600,000 die each year and a further 700,000 reach voting age. Allowing for the fact that most of those passing on are the elderly and who in the main did vote and voted to leave against the young who on the whole voted in the main for remain.

Kellner in his article concludes that because of the demography the leave majority is shrinking by 500,000 a year. As the leave majority was 1,269,501 that means they lose their majority (everything else being equal) by January 2019.


The second snippet was a YouGov poll.  A poll commissioned by the People’s vote found: –

  • That the support for Labour would fall from 36% to 22% if Labour helped the Tories pass a compromise deal with the EU. This, in turn, would be advantageous to the Lib Dems as it is projected that their poll rating would go up from 10% to 26%;
  • The YouGov poll found that 75% of Labour supports want a second referendum;
  • Another interesting find was that those who voted Labour in the last General Election and voted remain in the referendum; 49% of them would switch to the Lib Dems if Labour supported the Tories to get a Brexit deal;
  • Of the 17.4 million who voted leave in 2016, only 10 million would vote for May’s deal. In contrast, the 16 million who voted remain 1.4 million would vote for May’s deal.

Something to mull over and debate during the lull in Christmas celebrations!

Happy New Year


* Cllr. Tahir Maher is a member of the LDV editorial team

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • If 32% of the population voted against membership in the 1975 referendum then a substantial number of these will have died and the number voting remain in 2016 should have been – well not quite 100%.

  • David Evershed 26th Dec '18 - 12:57pm

    Older people are being replaced all the time by younger people getting older. So the number of older Leave voters keeps getting topped up.

    Older people are also living longer and becoming a larger proportion of the population.

  • Mick Taylor 26th Dec '18 - 1:07pm

    Hm. I am 68 and voted Yes in 1975 and remain in 2016. I suspect there are lots of people like me.

  • David,
    Is implying we turn into our parents, but as those coming behind us will not be as fortunate as us, that is unlikely. What ever they become they are unlikely to be thankful for those that had the good times and left them with nothing. The old are reliant in those that follow to support them in their old age, treat them badly (and we have) then don’t be surprised if they treat you badly too.

  • David-
    This argument deserves serious consideration, as there is some evidence that people become more right wing as they get older, become more fearful of outsiders etc. However the key finding is that people who have already voted in the 2016 referendum tend to stick loyally to however they voted. As Leave voters tend to be older that means that their number is gradually getting less.

  • Peter Martin 26th Dec '18 - 3:20pm

    So the theory is that older Leavers are dying off and are being replaced by younger Remainers coming on to the voting register? And

    the leave majority is shrinking by 500,000 a year.

    So, according to this theory, if we’d had a referendum in 2008 years the Leave majority would have been 4 million more than it was in 2016. ie about 5.3 million.

    So why were the Lib Dems so much in favour of a referendum about that time?

    Methinks there’s a flaw in the theory. 🙂

  • The problem with this is that people change as they grow older and their views change with them. I have been waiting for Conservatives to die out since the 1950s!

  • “something to mull over and debate”.Typical Lib Dem fudge and prevarication. Why not come out with an honest positive policy to have a cull ?

    Frankly, as an even older person than that modern Methuselah Mick Taylor, I find such illiberal speculation positively insulting, lacking in respect and counter productive. I also find myself frequently coming to more radical political positions as I grow older than some members of the so called yoof in the party.

  • The only way forward is a camapaign to spread the truth about the European Union – and to demolish the myth that we are being told what to do by bureaucrats in Brussels.

  • David Evans 26th Dec '18 - 4:34pm

    Oh no not again – The “We are young and right. You are old, wrong and dying” line. I just wish on occasions Liberals would drop this comfort blanket, and instead try to work out just for once in their lives why, despite being right, they have often lost so disastrously.

    It may be disconcerting, but until many more of us accept that being right, in your own mind, is simply not enough. And too often we haven’t worked hard enough at the difficult things, particularly at finding out what other people think and why. And that is why, in a democracy, we fail.

  • Paul Holmes 26th Dec '18 - 5:02pm

    I know one retired couple who voted Remain in 2016 but have refused to renew their Lib Dem membership (which extended, via the Liberal Party originally, beyond my 35 years of membership) precisely because of these types of attack on people who voted Leave.

    Yes they are elderly but no they didn’t vote Leave and no they are not stupid (one a retired Radiologist and one a retired Architect). If what survives of our Party ever wants to recover from the post 2010 disaster it needs to stop accusing those who don’t agree with us as being variously stupid and/or racist and/or elderly empire lovers.

  • Of course older remain (in actual numbers higher than the proportion of youngsters who can be bothered to go to a polling station)voters don’t die!
    One point worth mentioning is that only about 20% of Remain voters actually think the EU, as a political project, is a positive thing. So, I suspect when the sky fails to fall and nothing much happens, the Remain vote will weaken. If it proves to be a successful move then journalists and commentators will also shift. I think this is why parts of the Remain camp are so desperately clinging on to their prophesies of doom.

  • Why did the Lib Dems fail, tis easy they ascribed niceness and reasonableness to people who were far from nice and certainly are not reasonable. A case in point Legal Aid. Now I’m sure Lord McNally is no fool but he fell for the Tories are just like us fantasy . Lord McNally now states

    McNally, who was a justice minister from 2010 to 2013 and later ran the Youth Justice Board, said legal aid could not be a “bottomless pit”. But he said he regretted that a reforming bill had been transformed by Conservative ministers into a charter for sustaining high prison numbers.

    The lesson he had learned from the 1976 IMF crisis, when he was an aide in Downing Street, was that cuts should be “hard and deep” to restore confidence but not drag on indefinitely. “I said that to [Nick] Clegg and [David] Cameron,” he told the Guardian.

    For the MoJ, he said, it was “always a battle in the face of continuing and draconian cuts matching up the needs of the three key services: ………

    We put a proposal to [Downing Street] to try to manage down the prison population from 85,000 to 80,000 over the course of the parliament, ……
    The initiative was frustrated. “When I expressed disappointment, one Conservative minister told me: ‘This has to pass the Daily Mail test.’”
    The fact he didn’t know the Tory party was driven by an obsession of “What does the Daily Mail” think is a sad indictment of the leadership of the Lib Dems. The Tories cared not for any Lib Dem ideas, they were and are more concerned what the Mail says and the Mail isn’t reasonable or nice. It plays to the nastier part of all our personalities and the Tories follow their advice. They will look for scape goats to blame and useful idiots to support their aims, which is to obtain and wield power, just for powers sake.

    So going forward the Tories will continue to follow the Mails advice, any failures will be the fault of the young and feckless, the EU, the liberal elite, the immigrant, with a hope there will always be enough voters to keep them in power. This drip, drip of poison is all they have left, they can give a few vague promises of better days but that is not their core call to vote for them, tis vote for us or the others will take everything from you; it is an appeal to fear, which may work but a a high cost to all of us all.

  • So what should the Lib Dems do. Well firstly avoid reasonableness, because being reasonable with people who are not, only ever leads to you giving ground while they give none and demand more. Secondly connect with the concerns of the man on the street and all they want is for life to get better. If life gets better the clash of ages dies away. As everyone’s live improves, you don’t feel envious of other people (well not as envious) and you certainly don’t feel envy of the old (and many young people currently do). Finally a warning,if peoples well being doesn’t improve, bad things happen and no amount of screaming “Play nice” will change that.

  • And Glenn if you are wrong and bad things happen and the Brexit moves onto the next stage which will take years. will you say I was wrong or will you grasp onto another straw. I expect to see a reinvented Glenn come Brexit day, still desperately trying to prove Brexit is a good idea, because the alternative is unthinkable. Why even after two and a half years of political parallelise you can still see no downside to Brexit. Bad times are coming Glenn the world loves a scape goat and I can’t help but think Brexit will make one hell of a one.

  • Peter Watson 26th Dec '18 - 7:46pm

    However interesting the Yougov poll might be, such “what-if” hypothetical polling is not reliable. But it does highlight something for Lib Dems to think about very seriously: why are so many potential Lib Dem voters ignoring the party when asked who they would vote for right now, and what should be done about it?

  • Peter Watson 26th Dec '18 - 7:52pm

    It should go without saying, but giving the impression that Lib Dems are praying for a cold winter and NHS horror stories in order to reduce the number of Brexit supporters is NOT GOOD.

  • A bit more mulling………. On the implicit ageism demonstrated in Mr Maher’s article.

    If Mr Maher had applied the same illiberal logic in his article to an LGBT, feminist or particular racial group in the community instead of to the elderly, wjich he applies in an almost lip smacking relish to their mortality, can you imagine the screams of outrage on LDV ?

  • @David Raw and @Paul Holmes

    It is a demonstrable fact that young(er) voters voted/support remain and old(er) voters voted/support leave.

    This is not ageist or “attacking” older voters – just as it is not racist to say that Black Americans vote overwhelmingly Democrat.

    I hate to break it to commentators here who seem unaware of the fact but your additional years of life expectancy reduce as you get older.

    The interesting question is whether an individual person who ages is more likely to vote leave. The polling, however, suggests that there is a small but net shift on 2016 Referendum voters towards Remain. That is more Leave voters would vote Remain now than vice versa – regardless of demographic change.

  • Not much of a strategy is it – let’s hope some older people actually die according to some report and some young people actually vote and as usual vote a certain way according to the same report.

  • Thank you for your comments. interestingly, the comments have been about the first snippet and I can understand why people may get annoyed about it ( this was something I read and thought I would pass on). But the more engaging snippet I felt was the YouGov poll.

  • Tahir Maher, the conclusions you draw are dependent on two words “If Labour”.

    I recall an old adage that begins “If my auntie….”

  • Tony Greaves 26th Dec '18 - 11:35pm

    The point is simply that if there were a new referendum and everyone voted exactly the same way they voted last time (or did not vote) AND the new 18 year old attainers split exactly the same way that their age group voted in the referendum, there would be a Remain Majority. It is a powerful reminder of how the young have been robbed of their future prospects as European cit9izens by the old.

    (If you want to be pedantic and spuriously accurate, the date when it happens is apparently 19th January).

  • @Sean Hyland

    It is not a strategy but a fact. A strategy is what you do in relation to the facts.

    The big Survation poll reports that 69% of 18–24 year-olds voted Remain in the referendum. Conversely 62% of those aged 75+ voted Leave. (excluding non-voters I assume)

    Of those that voted in 2016: 84.7% of leavers would stay with their choice, 9.6% switching to Remain. Of remainers, 89.1% would stick with their choice against 7.2% switching to leave.

    Now the usual caveats about polls do apply and this was just one poll at one point in time albeit a very, very large one (and also carried out on behalf of Channel 4’s Brexit debate programme not one side or the other).

    Now clearly if we have a referendum, there will be a campaign and that might or might not change things. But all politicians and all those campaigning on one side or another have to understand where they are factually with the public and then formulate their strategy.

  • I have never thought that a second referendum was a good idea because, as Michael1 points out above, 84.7% of those who voted Leave last time still adhere to that position and the political consequences for our country of trying to reverse the result would be incalculable, and probably disastrous (yes, much like Brexit itself). If there was another referendum I have seen no sign that the Remain campaign would be any better than the abysmal effort that was mounted last time. I realise that everyone has been bogged down by the minutiae of the Brexit negotiations, but what Remain needs is a strong narrative about how we would want Europe to change for the better in the next ten years (not remain much the same as now as Nick Clegg suggested). We should have been refusing to take part in the Strasbourg/Brussels caravan, and we should be stressing the positive role that the UK could play in rooting out the corruption and waste endemic in the EU. I don’t believe in hypothecation of taxes, but it might help to combat some of the mythology if the net tax cost of the EU was included on our tax statements, in the same way that council tax statements are broken down. We should also be constantly examining the way the EU is functioning in order to find elements that can be devolved downwards – a centrifugal Europe rather than a centripetal one.

  • Jeremy Corbyn’s predicament reminds me of Paddy’s views as I learned them that sometimes he would despair of our Party; presumably because it did not follow him quite as rigidly as he would like though surely that is part of being a leader.

  • Denis Loretto 27th Dec '18 - 5:00pm

    I think the more interesting part of the polling reported here is the strong support from Labour voters for voting down “May’s deal”. Would their enthusiasm for this be maintained as they witness Corbyn following it by acting in a way that could only lead to crashing out on March 29 with no deal and no transition period?

  • Alex Macfie 27th Dec '18 - 9:42pm

    David Evershed

    “Older people are being replaced all the time by younger people getting older. So the number of older Leave voters keeps getting topped up.”

    This assumes that all younger people automatically adopt the attitudes and values of their elders as they themselves grow older. It is an extremely simplistic assumption, and plainly not true. If it were, then racism, sexism and homophobia would all still be perfectly respectable; absolute monarchy and feudalism would still be considered good systems of government and economics; we’d still have public hangings and floggings, etc etc. Because any young radical idealists who ever challenged the conservative social order would automatically fall into line as they aged, and therefore no social progress would ever happen.
    And so it is with Brexit. Young voters are NOT automatically going to become reactionary Brexiteers as they grow older, especially as the main reason they tend to support Remain is that they see themselves and their country/society as likely to prosper in the EU and in a more liberal society. The whole head/heart dichotomy is turned on its head by Brexit, because the Remain position — the one held mainly by younger people — is the “head” position, driven by economic reality. while the Brexit of the older generation is the “heart” position, driven as it is by nostalgia and fantasy.

  • Denis Loretto 27th Dec ’18 – 5:00pm…………….I think the more interesting part of the polling reported here is the strong support from Labour voters for voting down “May’s deal”. Would their enthusiasm for this be maintained as they witness Corbyn following it by acting in a way that could only lead to crashing out on March 29 with no deal and no transition period?…………….

    As we are the only party totally united in opposing to any Brexit deal the same logic should, surely, apply to us; or are we, as a political party, too insignificant to matter?

  • I’m not sure about the numbers in the original post because it doesn’t allow for the fact that some under 24s voted Leave and some over 65s voted Remain. For something else I’ve done some number crunching, and think that demographic factors remove the majority for Leave towards the end of 2017:

  • David Evans 28th Dec '18 - 8:38am

    Alex Macfie – “This assumes that *all* younger people automatically adopt the attitudes and values of their elders as they themselves grow older.” No it doesn’t and I really hope you understand that!

    Lib Dems have to face up to the real world and not hypothesise about the world they want to pretend exists.

  • Mark Argent/David Raw.


    It is no coincidence that the better educated and better employed tended to vote ‘Remain’ (YouGov stated that ,“Overall, people who left school at 15 or 16 voted around two to one for Brexit. [For] people who got up to A-level or equivalent qualification [it was] 50:50. Graduates voted two to one to remain in the EU.”

    There were many who voted ‘out’ to end the perceived tyranny of an ‘unelected EU bureaucracy running the UK’ but a far larger number voted for ‘change’ (any change) in their circumstances. The UK was hardly a society that offered hope to many of its citizens and, although only a minority accepted the ‘cake and unicorn’ promises at face value, many thought that the change would be for the better.

    Since the vote the country has been on hold and ‘things’ have, if anything, got worse.

  • @tonyhill

    I strongly disagree that “the political consequences for our country of trying to reverse the result would be incalculable, and probably disastrous”

    It is a bit like saying that if the country voted for a Conservative Government a few years ago then holding a general election to (perhaps) elect a differing Government would be bad.

    It will be three years soon since the Referendum not far off the average time between general elections.

    We only have to put up with Government things, new rules, regulations or laws we dislike for a few years in this country before we can change them. The same should apply to referendum decisions if we are democratic.

    Often in these arguments the views of the leavers are given more weight than Remainers which polling suggests are now clearly in the majority. Britainelects poll tracker has a current average of +8% for Remain. With a clear trend of a widening majority for Remain since September 2017.

    Now, of course, polls may be wrong (although actually most of the time they are not! And not one has reported a lead for Leave according to Britainelects since September 2017), time may change things, a campaign may change things, events and time may change things. Although they may not!

    Yes Europe will remain divisive whatever happens for the coming decades – the 2016 referendum shows that. But there is strong evidence that the majority now is for Remain and while they are denied their say then that will be cause of resentment.

  • Alex Macfie 28th Dec '18 - 8:40pm

    “We should have been refusing to take part in the Strasbourg/Brussels caravan”
    and what would that achieve exactly? I’ll tell you what it would achieve: NOTHING, except that it would mean that our MEP would cede any ability to influence legislation to those who are still willing to travel between Brussels and Strasbourg. It is the same as the suggestion that we should boycott the House of Lords: a pointless gesture, that would do nothing except make those who want to keep things as they are very happy indeed, because those who want to change things have excluded themselves.

    Nick Clegg’s “much the same as now” comment was utterly unforgiveably stupid, especially as it was in the middle of a European Parliamentary election campaign, the whole point of which is to elect representatives whose job it is to help decide what the EU should look like. But it was only a small part of a seriously mistaken campaign, in which we ceded all ground to Farage, by essentially agreeing to fight on his territory on his terms, and going along with the political establishment’s conspiracy of silence on what MEPs actually do. Clegg AGREED WITH FARAGE that MEPs don’t matter, and that the only choices that anyone can make on the EU are uncritical support or withdrawal.
    However, he has left the building, as have most of those involved in the original 2016 Remain campaign. So I disagree with what you say: the Remain campaign in any new referendum is likely to look very different from the last one.

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