Low status, left behind, ignorant and ignored? Understanding the Brexit voter

Is Brexit the result of deep-seated inequalities in the UK? This is one prevailing explanation for why the British public voted for the UK to leave the European Union, namely that the leave vote came from those with nothing to lose, having been ‘left behind’ by social change and ignored by political elites. These ‘left behind’ voters, many commentators have asserted, “didn’t know what they were voting for”. In this paper, I will review some of the main theories of why individuals chose to vote for the UK to leave the EU and will present evidence from my current research project on Brexit. Findings suggest that some of the commonplace portrayals of the Brexit voter as low status, uninformed and left behind, have been overly simplistic.