Playing with the Numbers (again)

I’ve noticed various claims about how many people voted to remain in or to leave the EU – which can be interpreted depending on your point of view.

Here’s a typical example, this one from the Scotsman newspaper

https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/brexit-can-a-scottish-court-order-boris-johnson-to-be-imprisoned-1-5015689

The picture (where the banner looks as if it was photo-shopped in) shows the claim:

73% of British Voters did not vote to Leave the EU

Is this True ?

The actual figures, from the Electoral Commission, allow many differing interpretations depending on your point of view.

Results and turnout at the EU referendum

The full results data is available at

Full set of EU referendum result data (csv)

or here.

Some interpretations

What you usually see is that 51.85% of actual votes were cast in favour of leaving the EU and 48.07% were cast in favour of remaining in the EU (with 0.08% of the votes being invalid) from a total of 33,578,037 votes cast.

However, you could also say that, based on the total electorate of 46,500,001 voters , 37.44% voted to Leave, 34.71% voted to Remain, 27.79% did not vote and 0.05% of ballot papers were invalid. ( i.e. 12,921,964 people did not use their vote)

therefore,

62.55% of possible voters did NOT vote to LEAVE the EU

alternatively

65.28% of possible voters did NOT vote to REMAIN in the EU

depending on your point of view.

Similarly votes by region can be interpreted depending on your point of view. For example, in Scotland, there are a possible 3,987,112 votes (electorate) so that based on the total electorate, 41.66% voted to Remain, 25.54% voted to leave, 32.75% did not vote and there were 0.04% invalid votes.

Using this basis,

74.45% of possible voters in Scotland did NOT vote to LEAVE the EU

alternatively

58.33% of possible voters in Scotland did NOT vote to REMAIN in the EU

Electorate by country

Total Electorate in the UK is 46,500,001

England: 38,981,662 (83.83%), 533 MPs

Scotland: 3,987,112.00 (8.6%), 59 MPs

Wales: 2,270,272 (4.88%) 40 MPs

Northern Ireland: 1,260,955 (2.71%) 18 MPs