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In June 2016, the United Kingdom shocked the world by voting to leave the European Union. As this book reveals, the historic vote for Brexit marked the culmination of trends in domestic politics and in the UK's relationship with the EU that have been building over many years. Drawing on a wealth of survey evidence collected over more than ten years, this book explains why most people decided to ignore much of the national and international community and vote for Brexit. Drawing on past research on voting in major referendums in Europe and elsewhere, a team of leading academic experts analyse changes in the UK's party system that were catalysts for the referendum vote, including the rise of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), the dynamics of public opinion during an unforgettable and divisive referendum campaign, the factors that influenced how people voted and the likely economic and political impact of this historic decision.


‘It would be hard to come up with a better line-up of analysts to dig into both the long- and short-term drivers of Britain's decision to leave the EU. Whether you're a Leaver or a Remainer, the vote for Brexit needs explaining - and this is just the book to do it.'

Tim Bale - Queen Mary University of London and author of The Conservative Party from Thatcher to Cameron

'Do not read Brexit - unless you want truth rather than propaganda, objectivity rather than bias and evidence rather than prejudice. Harold D. Clarke, Matthew Goodwin and Paul F. Whiteley have written a book that will still be standing when the post-truth claims of those on both sides of the referendum have rightly crumbled to dust.'

Peter Kellner - former President of YouGov

'Clarke, Goodwin and Whiteley have written what is sure to be a standard reference on Brexit. A wonderfully written history of the rise of the UKIP and the Brexit referendum lead to a diverse array of empirical analyses: a survey of UKIP members, longitudinal national surveys and pre-post referendum surveys. Instead of simple explanations, they show the variety of diverse factors that produced the final referendum outcome and discuss the implications for British politics going forward.'

Russell J. Dalton - University of California, Irvine

‘An empirically rich and insightful analysis of the dynamics of the Brexit vote. Essential reading for understanding the social and political forces underlying one of the most important and consequential electoral decisions of our times.’

Lawrence LeDuc - Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto

'Brexit: Why Britain Voted to Leave the European Union isn't a book of opinions about why the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union but a close look at what the statistics tell us. It's an … informative read.'

Sue Magee Source: The Bookbag (

'The British public does not have a settled view on Europe. … The authors conclude that the British are not unusually racist among Europeans … The British appear easily swayed.'

Danny Dorling Source: The Times Higher Education

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