Bregret: Google Searches for “what is the EU” Surges

Brexit was a huge shock for the global economy, and stock markets, as many anticipated that it wouldn’t happen. The choice of leaving the European Union (EU) had a negative ripple effect on the world markets. Global stock markets experienced their worst single day decline since the collapse of the Lehman Brothers.

The aftermath of the Brexit was huge, from the British Pound being devaluated, to the stock market plummeting on the news. The main question is – did the British see this coming?

Some British voters are referring to Brexit as the ‘Bregret,’ since they did not see this coming – many thought the voters would choose to stay in the EU. One voter claimed that she “would go back to the polling station and vote to stay,” (Independent) after hearing the results. Many pro-Brexit voters were feeling the Bregret effect, as they did not realize the economic impact, and many of them believed UK would have remained.

“I would go back to the polling station and vote to stay”

Some Bregret voters claimed that they were upset, and concerned for the future of the British economy for their children, the millennial generation. According to Telegraph, those aged over 60 were more likely to be pro-Brexit.

Another interesting statistic from the Telegraph – “the higher the level of education, the higher the EU support.” This could imply that this segment of anti-Brexit voters understood the economic benefits of staying within the EU. The main purpose of the EU is to operate as a single market, allowing for free movement of capital, services, goods, and human capital between the EU member states (Telegraph).





Shortly after the results, Google Searches for EU related topics spiked. Would this suggest that pro-Brexit voters did not completely understand the UK referendum?

Below are the Google search results for “what is the EU,” which surged shortly after the Brexit (in United Kingdom). According to Google Trends, there was a 250% spike in related searches, such as “what happens if we leave the EU.”

Britain was split on whether or not if they should stay within the EU. According to the polls, 48.1% opted to remain, and 51.9% opted to leave, with a 72.2% voter turnout (Telegraph). However, there has been a growing demand for a second UK referendum, from voters, and political leaders such as David Lammy, Member of Parliament.

The petition quickly gained attention, with over three million signatures since its launch. This can suggest that there are many Bregret voters who wish to stay.

Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 1.49.34 PM
Brexit Petition

Britain has up to two years to negotiate their terms for its exit, with the other EU members. As stated in the final clause of Article 50, Britain (or any other country that has previously withdrawn from the EU) would be able to re-join.

The EU provides an economic advantage, despite regional Economy weaknesses (such as Greece’s high debt load). It facilitates the movement of capital, goods, services, and human capital within the 28 EU member countries. Britain’s departure from the EU would potentially put it at a disadvantage in terms of capital movement with the other 27 EU nations.

Despite the close results, many Bregret voters are voicing their opinions on stopping the UK referendum. However, will the government actually have a second UK referendum? According to Professor Vernon Bogdanor, a second referendum is “highly unlikely” (The Telegraph). There may be a possibility that the British government decides to stop the Brexit, as it would have a huge impact on their economy.

You may also be interested in: Brexit Stock Market Crash


Writer: Jelani Smith 

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