Brexit: Leave ‘very likely’ won EU referendum due to illegal overspending
Analysis finds adverts reached ‘tens of millions of people’ in crucial days after spending limit breached – enough to change the outcome
An exhaustive analysis of the campaign’s digital strategy concludes it reached “tens of millions of people” in its last crucial days, after its spending limit had been breached – enough to change the outcome.
The evidence will be presented to the High Court on Friday, in a landmark case that will rule within weeks whether the referendum result should be declared “void” because the law was broken.
Professor Philip Howard, director of the Oxford Internet Institute, said: “My professional opinion is that it is very likely that the excessive spending by Vote Leave altered the result of the referendum.
“A swing of just 634,751 people would have been enough to secure victory for remain.
“Given the scale of the online advertising achieved with the excess spending, combined with conservative estimates on voter modelling, I estimate that Vote Leave converted the voting intentions of over 800,000 voters in the final days of the campaign as a result of the overspend.”
The conclusion is based on separate research which found that 20 – 30 per cent of people decided how to vote within a week of polling day, with half doing so on election day itself.