Quartz’s Big “Brexit” Briefing: Everything you need to know about the EU referendum

Decision day.
Decision day.
Image: EPA/Hannah McKay
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Voters in Britain go to the polls today (June 23) in a referendum on whether to remain in the European Union.

The campaigning has been highly contentious, and plenty of people—in Britain, Europe, and beyond—are eager for it to end.

In case you are just tuning in and wonder what all this “Brexit” talk is about, or if you’re looking to revisit how it’s all come to this, read on. Quartz has compiled a handy rundown of key stories we’ve published recently to bring you up to speed in time for the big reveal: Brexit or Bremain.

Why are we doing this?

Britain has had a long-standing love-hate relationship with the EU. More specifically, the referendum is a result of a Conservative party psychodrama that dates back to the earliest days of Britain’s membership in continental clubs.

So it’s a right-wing thing?

Not exclusively. The loudest supporters of Brexit are on the right, but plenty on the left want to leave the EU, too.

How do voting intentions break down, then?

Excellent question, here are some charts. The strongest predictor of whether someone is inclined to vote for Brexit is age.

What are the main issues?

There are three: The economy, immigration and identity.

Did you interrupt people eating breakfast to ask them how they’re voting?

We did indeed.

So which side will win?

Since the polls are so close, history and human nature suggests that the status quo—”remain”—will prevail. Voting ends at 10pm local time (5pm ET) and results are expected between 5am and 7am the following morning (pdf).

I saw John Oliver call the campaign “poisonous.” Was it that bad? 

When one side calls the other’s tactics “Project Fear,” and it responds by dubbing its opponents “Project Hate,” then yes, it’s been pretty poisonous.

And it was punctuated by the murder of Jo Cox, a pro-EU member of parliament who believed immigration and integration made Britain better. When asked to give his name in court, her alleged attacker said “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain.”

Any lighter moments?

Precious few, but rival flotillas facing off in the Thames provided bemusement.

If voters go for Brexit, what will we call it if other EU members follow suit?

Glad you asked. Quartz compiled a list of possibilities for all EU countries (Quitaly, Portugo, and the like).

Thanks! How about a link-heavy lightning round?

You got it…

⚡ A history lesson that explains Britain’s aloofness from Europe

⚡ How the referendum split one of Britain’s leading political families

⚡ What Donald Trump and the Brexiteers have in common

⚡ How Brexit poses a threat to Britain’s many minority languages

⚡ The results of 40 years of EU referendums across the continent

A complete archive of Quartz’s Brexit coverage can be found here.