Ward and constituency breakdown of European referendum results

Both detailed ward-by-ward and constituency level results for the June 2016 European referendum are now available, using a mix of actual data and careful modelling to fill in the gaps.

The BBC has been investigating the details of the European referendum election results:

Since the referendum the BBC has been trying to get the most detailed, localised voting data we could from each of the counting areas. This was a major data collection exercise carried out by my colleague George Greenwood.

We managed to obtain voting figures broken down into smaller geographical units for 178 of the 399 referendum counting areas (380 councils in England, Wales and Scotland, with a separate tally in Gibraltar, while in Northern Ireland results were issued for the 18 constituencies).

This varied between data for individual local government wards, wards grouped into clusters, and constituency level data. In a few cases the results supplied were even more localised than ward level. Overall the extra data covers a wide range of different areas and kinds of councils across the UK.

Electoral returning officers are not covered by the Freedom of Information Act, so releasing the information was up to the discretion of councils. While some were very willing, in other cases it required a lot of persistence and persuasion.

Some councils could not supply any detailed data because they mixed all ballot boxes prior to counting; some did possess more local figures but simply refused to disclose them to us. Others did provide data, but the combinations in which ballot boxes were mixed before counting were too complex to fit ward boundaries neatly.

The conclusion from this detailed analysis?

  • The data confirms previous indications that local results were strongly associated with the educational attainment of voters – populations with lower qualifications were significantly more likely to vote Leave. (The data for this analysis comes from one in nine wards)
  • The level of education had a higher correlation with the voting pattern than any other major demographic measure from the census
  • The age of voters was also important, with older electorates more likely to choose Leave
  • Ethnicity was crucial in some places, with ethnic minority areas generally more likely to back Remain. However this varied, and in parts of London some Asian populations were more likely to support Leave
  • The combination of education, age and ethnicity accounts for the large majority of the variation in votes between different places
  • Across the country and in many council districts we can point out stark contrasts between localities which most favoured Leave or Remain
  • There was a broad pattern in several urban areas of deprived, predominantly white, housing estates towards the urban periphery voting Leave, while inner cities with high numbers of ethnic minorities and/or students voted Remain

You can read the BBC’s full analysis here. As for why this sort of analysis matters in particular for the Liberal Democrats, see the pamphlet I wrote with David Howarth.

4 responses to “Ward and constituency breakdown of European referendum results”

  1. Total rubbish how can one ascertain the educational status simply by the area someone lives in, lots of assumptions very little in the way of facts or corroborating evidence, much like the lib dems manifesto

  2. I’ve seen the ward-level results for the referendum before, but there’s a problem with them for the area I live, Wirral. They’re incorrect. They have the wrong figures for some of the wards, basically they’re mixed them up. Shortly after the referendum a local paper published figures that actually made sense bearing in mind the demographics of the areas in question. I don’t know how the BBC managed to mess it up, perhaps they were dealing with too many figures, but they’re not the right ones. Fortunately I’ve got a copy of the correct figures that the newspaper published.

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