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Here's Why We (Probably) Won't Be Calling Trump "Mr Brexit"

Trump may not deliver the "Brexit times five" that he's promising, but his supporters are taking note of their friends across the pond.

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Of all the strange/terrifying/unexplainable things about the 2016 presidential election, one that has been especially strange/terrifying/unexplainable to British people is Trump's frequent mentions of Brexit.

Since crowning himself MR BREXIT in August, Trump's pronouncements have got more frequent...

Trump has described his campaign at different points today as "beyond Brexit," then "Brexit Plus," and now "Brexit times five"


Trump: "There's gonna be a lot of Brexit happening in about two weeks."

...and more extreme, mathematically speaking.

Trump now says if he wins, "this will be Brexit times 10." It was only Brexit times 5 a week and a half ago.

Next it will be Brexit times 20.


But were the UK polls actually wrong about Brexit? While many Remain voters would say, "Yes, the polls betrayed me, and I shall have my revenge upon them," it's actually more complicated than that.

Christopher Furlong / Getty Images / BuzzFeed

See, online polls were actually pretty accurate. Throughout the campaign period they painted a close race, with Leave just ahead more times than not. Of online polls, 63% gave Leave a cheeky lead, while only 22% of phone polls did.

Bet you didn't read about THAT in the lamestream media! Or maybe you did. In which case, here is a gold star: ⭐️

According to some nerds, Trump currently has a 26% chance of winning.

Mixed data this AM—bad nat'l polls for Clinton, bad state polls for Trump—but Trump chances up another tick to 26%.…

As nerds will be quick to remind you, a forecast is different than a poll. It means that if we had 100 elections TODAY (just imagine), Trump would win 26 of them.


In any case, polls and forecasts rely on past elections. You know how well or badly a poll (and other assumptions) performed in previous elections, and based on that information, you adjust today’s model accordingly.

Mary Turner / Getty Images

With the Brexit referendum you couldn’t really do this because, well, we'd never done a Brexit before, and there hadn’t been an EU-related vote since the 1970s.

Also, for the EU referendum it was difficult to model who the electorate was going to be, in terms of turnout and which demographics would cast a ballot.

BuzzFeed News / Getty Images

US polls, on the other hand, are more likely to be accurate, because they have access to more data in general. They've also been accurate in recent elections, unlike in the UK general election, due to the fact that the USA rulez and is #1 in everything. There is nothing to suggest it will be otherwise this year.

(Unless the election is rigged, lol.)


The US voting system means that the election is decided by the result in a number of key states and not by the nationwide popular vote like in the UK’s referendum.

Stacy Revere / Getty Images

The popular vote could be close, but if one candidate takes the swing states that takes them to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the election, then who even cares about the popular vote tbh.

Just ask Al Gore about the importance of the popular vote.

Chris Hondros / Getty Images

Anyway, the data from swing states, which are heavily polled, shows that Clinton is ahead and has a clearer path to the White House, while Trump’s options are limited. Even if the popular vote tightens, he would need the polls to be wrong in a number of states or for opinion to change in a number of these states in the last week. (Which isn't impossible!)

It's not how big your popular vote is – it's how you use it.

There's also the fact that Trump is very reliant on one demographic: white voters without degrees.

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

The data from key states shows that he needs to flip nearly all of these voters from the Clinton column, and/or to substantially increase turnout among this group. Trump COULD pull off a few surprises, but basically, there just aren't enough white voters without degrees in the states that Trump really needs to win.

Meanwhile, Trump has alienated large groups of voters, such as the majority of American women, who happen to be nasty.

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Also, the US electorate is a lot more diverse than the British one, meaning that a strategy that alienates minorities will probably fall short.


Also, most UK newspapers backed Leave, and actively campaigned for Leave-friendly arguments, like being anti-migration and anti-EU, for years before the referendum.

Sean Gallup / Getty Images / BuzzFeed

In the US, though, pretty much every major newspaper has endorsed Clinton – though both Brexit and Trump supporters share a distrust in traditional media anyway.

And finally, while the Remain campaign was a bit shit, the Clinton campaign is incredibly disciplined, organised, and resourced on the ground.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

If only Hillary had used shouting across the office as her primary method of communication instead of emails, amirite?

But remember, children, all of this doesn't mean Trump can't win! A 26% chance is not a 0% chance. It's a 26% chance. That's just math!

Turnout within specific demographics could be an important factor. In the UK referendum, turnout was the one factor most polls misjudged. Turnout is a messy bitch who lives for drama.


Anyway, Trump isn't Mr Brexit. But there are a still a few Brexit-y comparisons that we can make without pissing off any nerds.

Steve Pope / Getty Images / BuzzFeed

For one thing, both the referendum and the presidential election have shown a huge variation among polls. The UK had the differences between online and phone polling, and in the US, the variation is much higher than in previous elections – it currently ranges between +14 to Clinton and +1 to Trump (and Clinton leads on average).

But the Trump–Brexit similarities go beyond rogue polling.

Hannah Jewell / BuzzFeed News

Supporters of both Brexit and Trump, for example, tend to be white and hold lower levels of education. And both the election and the referendum have attracted people who did not vote in previous elections. They also share anti-globalisation, anti-establishment, and anti-migration sentiments.

Some of his supporters have taken up the "Brexit times a billion" rhetoric.

Hannah Jewell / BuzzFeed News

“We feel that what happened in Britain is something that has excited a lot of us Trump supporters," one Trump supporter – a small-business owner named Bill – told BuzzFeed News at a rally in Toledo, Ohio, last week. "Because let’s face it: What happened in Britain wasn’t expected to happen."

In any case, both sets of supporters express an interest in upsetting the status quo.

Hannah Jewell / BuzzFeed News

"I think to get anything done it’s going to take a major upset of the status quo," said David, another Trump supporter at the Toledo rally. "And I think Trump's the only answer at this point. Everything else is the same old deal, you know."

So while Trump might not get to enjoy Brexit times five at the polls, his supporters are nevertheless taking notice of their pals across the pond.

For more on the Mr Brexit phenomenon, listen to the BuzzFeed Politics podcast No One Knows Anything:

Hannah Jewell is a senior staff writer for BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.

Contact Hannah Jewell at

Alberto Nardelli is Europe editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Alberto Nardelli at

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