415/2019 Vincenzo Bove, Georgios Efthyvoulou and Harry Pickard
We contribute to the recent research on Brexit and public opinion formation by contending that the determinants of the referendum results should be evaluated against the background of wider public security concerns. Terrorism has long been regarded as a top concern by the British public, more than in any other European country. Terrorist attacks on UK soil raised voters’ awareness of security issues and their saliency in the context of an EU referendum. We find that locations affected by terrorist violence in their proximity exhibit an increase in the share of pro-Remain votes, particularly for more sensational attacks. Using individual-level data, we show that in the aftermath of terrorist attacks, citizens are more likely to reconsider the security risks involved in leaving the EU.
British Journal of Political Science