The findings, in a report sponsored by Opinium and Lansons strategic consultancy, suggest that the result could swing either way – depending on whether it is the Remain or Leave camp that convinces the most undecided voters in the final 12 days of the campaign.
The research, headed by Michael Bruter, professor of political science at the LSE, comes as the latest Opinium/Observer poll shows the outcome remains on a knife-edge. The poll puts Remain on 44%, Leave on 42% and those who say they don’t know how they will vote on 13%.
The LSE work is based on studies of voter behaviour in recent elections and referendums in 25 countries including the UK. Academics used panel studies and other interview and investigative methods to probe the psychological processes driving voters’ decisions.
The report, The Impact of Brexit on Consumer Behaviour, states that many voters are “very worried” about making the wrong decision and are therefore prone to changing their minds or leaving their choice until close to the actual moment they cast their vote. “We consistently find that 20-30% of voters either change their mind within a week of casting their ballot, about half of them on election day itself,” the report says.
Up to 30% of people will change the way they vote or make up their minds in the week before the 23 June Brexit referendum, with half of these only deciding finally on polling day, according to research by academics at the London School of Economics.