The Brexit petition at 4 million votes

At the same time as David Cameron announced the UK will not hold a second referendum on exiting the EU, the petition to change the UK referendum rules and in some ways force a second referendum reached 4 million signatures. Yesterday, I posted an analysis of the petition results using data from June 27, but given the increase in signatures, I thought I would redo the analysis to see if anything major had changed.

First off, we can see where the new signatures are coming from. While the total petition votes went from 3.88M to 4.01M, the votes from England moved from 3.26M to 3.37M, a significantly smaller increase. So English signatures are mainly responsible for driving this rise. As previously, I’m only considering English data, as each nation in the UK has different voting behaviours (and England was the strongest exit vote, so it’s interesting to see if that has changed.)


New petition signatures in each English referendum district. Some illegitimate signatures were removed from the petition, resulting in the blue region.

At least 2800 signatures were removed from the petition from Bracknell Forest and Wokingham, which are shown in blue here. Otherwise the geographic distribution of new votes seems to match what was seen in the previous body of votes.

With such a small addition of votes, our inferences about the levels of contentment with Brexit within each district following Brexit are likely to be unchanged. Here they are though:

The accuracy with which the petition matches the referendum result gives a measure of the ‘Bregret’ in each region following the UK’s vote to leave the EU. Loosely, a region should be white if its frequency in signing the petition matches its vote in the referendum. Yellow regions signed the petition in greater frequency than they voted to remain, blue regions signed the petition less frequently than they voted to remain.

Similar to the last analysis, the “Bregret” remains concentrated in metropolitan areas. It’s hard to draw any firm conclusions given that the petition doesn’t and can’t correspond to the referendum perfectly. But opinions in more rural areas of England haven’t strongly changed, and it’s quite possible that any party trying to neuter the British exit from the EU would face a significant electoral backlash.


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