By: Emily Hawkins, Student Voices writer
The much anticipated referendum on British membership to the European Union is taking place on Thursday (in case you missed it,) with both camps still neck-and-neck in the polls and a narrow margin of victory predicted for whichever side wins.
The earliest most definitive result will be turnout, The Telegraph predict at around 3am, something which could prove to be crucial for the final result. Remain are desperate for a high turnout, especially among young voters. Having said this, some are reporting that there may be a low turnout in Scotland owing to voters feeling ‘referendum fatigue’, in addition to Chris Hanretty’s suggestion that a high national turnout could “conceal important regional variations.”
Sunderland will be the first constituency out of 382 in the UK to announce their result at around half past midnight, (though the areas of Gibraltar and the Isles of Scilly will announce shortly after midnight.) Chris Hanretty for The Guardian has said, “If the referendum were a dead heat, we should expect Leave to be six percentage points ahead in Sunderland, winning 53% to 47%. That figure is still subject to a lot of uncertainty: in a dead heat Leave could be anywhere between one point behind and 13 points ahead. But the closer things are in Sunderland, the better things will be for Remain.”
Areas declaring early Friday morning will be the ones inclined to have good results for Remain, with London, Scotland and Wales set to declare before 5am. It won’t be clear who is in the lead until well after dawn; constituencies such as Basildon, Salford and Swindon (“a marginal in general elections but a fortress as far as Brexit is concerned”) may push Leave into the lead before 2am, but then results from Warwick, Westminster, a multitude of Scottish areas, and Wandsworth (expected to see two-thirds of voters supporting Remain,) will rectify this, levelling the playing field.
Commentators have been giving different estimates as to when the end result will become predictable, Stephen Bush from the New Statesman says it will be between 2.30am and 3am after key areas like Crawley and Enfield have declared, but Christopher Hope from The Telegraph instead says that it will ultimately come down to the results from England, most of which will become known between 6am and 7am, and so no final result can be determined until well into Friday. A good litmus test for how referendum will end will be when the overall result for North East England is released, an area dominated by Labour supporters courted by UKIP in the 2015 General Election.
We can also expect Prime Minister David Cameron to make a statement soon after a final result is announced by Jenny Watson, chairman of the Electoral Commission, at Manchester Town Hall. When this statement will come (and indeed whether it will contain a resignation,) will depend on when the final results are declared, for example Bristol has a reputation of being slow with counts as does St Ives, but it can be expected to be well before the London Stock Market opens at 8am.
A Guide to the Night of the Referendum Reviewed by Student Voices on 10:47 Rating: