#Brexit referendum at t minus two

The German Federal Constitutional Court is expected to announce its verdict today on the compatibility of the  ECB’s Outright Monetary Transactions Program with German Constitutional Law, the Britons are voting on whether or not to leave the EU on June 23 and the Spaniards are taking a second shot at electing a government on Sunday June 26. If you ask me these are too many, and not necessarily independent, fateful events in the space of five days even if the Greek tin can is once again kicked down the road for now.

I have been trying to monitor public sentiment in the UK on the Brexit referendum and ended up looking at leave eu and stay eu. These were a compromise between remaining parsimonious and achieving relevance. The more keywords the larger the possibility of bias and if I just followed leave and stay  I would have picked up searches irrelevant to the referendum. In doing so I trusted the Google algorithms to help me out: Google Trends will add more searches to  leave eu than when you specify “leave eu”. The fact that I appear to be getting too high a reading for the leave kind is that even with the help of the Google algorithm I may have been putting the stay eu readings at a grammatical disadvantage.  I have decided to look again at whether I could now go as parsimonious as possible and just get readings for the words “leave” on the one hand and the disjunction of “stay/remain” just like I had done with yes/no in the case of the Greek referendum. As it turns out as we are approaching voting day and the salience of the  referendum is peaking, all but a few of the top searches containing the words leave and stay in the UK are about the referendum. So I will stick to the most parsimonious specification and monitor readings for: leave -remain -stay -brother -bb -paternity -maternity and remain + stay -leave -i -indefinite. Subtracting the words paternity and maternity are for obvious reasons, subtracting brother cleans up frivolous big brother reality show queries and subtracting indefinite cleans up queries on a certain visa status in the UK. The result:


Leave is currently at 47% but rising versus 53% for remain/stay. We still see the impact of the Jo Cox shooting death as leave searches dropped below 50% in its aftermath. The leave side may have lost momentum dew to the fact that what fueled it were a strange mix of patriotic as well as xenophobic rhetoric which suddenly became unattractive after the shooting. Leave searches appear to be recovering in the last 24 hours and the only question we need to ask ourselves is: with just two days left is there enough time for the leave side to reach its momentum from before the shooting? Stay tuned.


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