Early indications from a respected poll strongly suggest that Britain has voted to stay in the European Union.
No official exit polls were conducted for Brexit, but a YouGov poll showed Remain beating Leave 52%-48%. While the poll has a much smaller sample size than a typical exit poll, YouGov did call the Scottish Independence vote within one percentage point in 2014. And Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party and a prominent booster of the Leave campaign, has told Sky News that he thinks “Remain will edge it.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron had long lobbied for Britain to remain in the EU, saying an exit would cost British jobs and deal a blow to the nation’s economy. Those who wanted to leave the union, however, said Brexit would allow the UK to better control immigration and save the money it contributes to the EU’s budget.
“It has boiled down to jobs versus foreigners,” Justin Fisher, a politics professor at Brunel University in London, told Bloomberg.
While the official results are still several hours away, if early signs are correct, what does that mean for Australasian businesses? Mostly, it means they can breathe a giant sigh of relief.
Many analysts believe a UK exit from the EU would have had a profound effect on global markets – perhaps even sending them into a nosedive. There were fears that Britain’s severing of ties with the EU would negatively impact trade, economic growth, investment and jobs in Europe.
This morning the New Zealand dollar had jumped above 72 US cents for the first time in more than a year as confidence that UK voters would stick with the EU firmed ahead of today’s historic vote.