Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

Skip to Search

Skip to Navigation

Volume 29 Issue 2 (March 2019), Pages 79-164

The role of intuitive moral foundations in Britain's vote on EU membership (pages 90-103)

Abstract In June 2016, British voters took part in a referendum on the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union (EU). By a margin of 52% to 48%, they voted to leave. Studies have demonstrated that fixed demographic factors were the best predictors of voting intentions in either direction, or that “leave” voters were driven by perceived threats from immigration. In this paper, we examine the role of moral intuitions in referendum voting intentions. In Study , demographic variables did not predict voting intentions after adding psychological variables to our statistical model. Instead, voting leave was predicted by political conservatism, social change insecurities, and placing moral importance on personal liberty. In contrast, only an adherence to the care foundation of morality predicted “remain” voting. These findings were also reflected in linguistic analyses of campaign materials and news items (Study ). We discuss these data in relation to common discourses around the Brexit vote.

Add This link

Bookmark and Share>