Individuals’ perceptions on immigration and political trust may have shaped the Brexit vote

A few weeks prior to the EU Referendum in the UK, researchers surveyed 1000 residents of Kent in the south east of England (where a majority intended to vote to leave), and 1000 across Scotland (where a majority intended to vote to remain). The findings are published in the British Journal of Social Psychology.

Participants were asked about their trust in politicians, concerns about acceptable levels of immigration, feelings of threat from immigration, how much they identified as European, and their voting intention. “The results revealed, in both regions, that people were most likely to opt for Brexit when their feelings of threat and disidentification with Europe had been amplified by a combination of concern about immigration levels and distrust of politicians,” said co-author Prof. Dominic Abrams, of the University of Kent.