Our Opinion: Protest votes can backfire painfully


Buyer's remorse over last week's vote in Great Britain to leave the European Union took only days to emerge. Lessons about polls and protests are being provided.

The British pound has taken a pounding and world markets have been weakened since the vote. The unhappy European Union wants Great Britain gone ASAP while British leaders are dragging their feet about sending their nation off into the abyss.

British media outlets are reporting hearing from voters who said they voted in favor of Britain's exit as a protest and didn't expect the "Leave" side to win. They apparently bought into polls just before the vote indicating that "Remain" would prevail, and it is possible that enough voters who didn't want to leave the EU but thought a protest vote was safe tipped the scale to a "Leave" victory. Their regret was increased over the weekend when prominent advocates for abandoning the EU walked back from some of their claims, with Independence Party leader Nigel Farage saying the "Leave" campaign made a "mistake" by promising or implying that the money Great Britain had been sending to the EU will go to the National Health Service.

Lessons: Voters should make their decisions based on principles, not polls, and frivolous protest votes can backfire. Voting is a serious business, which Americans must remember in November less they suffer from a painful bout of buyer's remorse as well.


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