After polls close at 10pm tonight, the full results of Britain’s referendum on European Union (EU) membership are unlikely to be known until after 7am. By around 3 or 4am, however, it is expected there will be a reasonably clear picture of which way the vote will go.
The evening of last year’s General Election surprised the country as exit polls indicated the Conservative Party’s shock victory. Like with the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence, today’s vote count will be much more tense as no such poll has been commissioned.
The first results are expected to come between midnight and 1am, starting with the Scilly Isles and Gibraltar. As their populations are so small, however, the results are unlikely to reveal anything about the national votes as a whole.
Before 1am, Sunderland will likely be the first city to announce its results. While the city is a Labour stronghold, UKIP has gained significant ground in recent years. The Financial Times suggests the Leave campaign will want to see a substantial lead here.
Noting that Newcastle upon Tyne will likely also reveal its results at around this time, it says “it bodes ill for the Prime Minister” if the city doesn’t declare for Remain.
Wandsworth and the City of London are also expected to declare during this hour, both very likely to be strong Remain votes.
By 3.30am it’s expected that about 200 results will be known, including Lancaster. Considered a bellwether town for this referendum, Leave and Remain are thought to be tied at 42.8 per cent.
The Guardian reported that JP Morgan’s analysis suggests if Leave win, Remain is still likely to lead until about 3am.
Between 3am and 5am votes will be announced in a number of Leave heartlands. Among these are Boston, which has seen a huge influx of Eastern European migrants, Blackpool and Great Yarmouth.
By 5am Manchester will declare, most likely for Remain, but at this point results will be in from around 80 per cent of authorities.
The referendum’s outcome will be declared at Manchester Town Hall by Electoral Commission chairman, Jenny Watson, who is also the vote’s chief counting officer.