The EU Referendum Campaign
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Nothing was inevitable about the Brexit vote: the campaign mattered profoundly. Cameron’s confidence came from having won two referendums and a general election. Yet the EU campaign illustrates the limitations of relying on a message purely focused on the economic risks of Brexit. This approach ignored voters’ concerns about identity and left out any positive message about European integration. Interventions from abroad intended to lend credence to the risk argument also failed to convince as Eurosceptics stoked up resentment against elites and their forecasting. The majority’s disavowal of government advice to vote to remain thus illustrates the way the whole debate went beyond the facts regarding costs and benefits of the EU.
KeywordsReferendum Campaigning Immigration Project Fear Soft Euroscepticism
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