Brits want to leave Eurovision... by 52% to 48%

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
May 16, 2019, 11:00 PM GMT+0

YouGov referendum on Eurovision membership finds the public just as divided as they were on Brexit

As the 64th Eurovision Song Contest kicks off in Tel Aviv, a new YouGov Eurotrack survey reveals that Britons would narrowly vote to leave the contest - in results that mirror 2016’s EU referendum.

Asked how they could vote on Britain’s continued membership of the Eurovision song contest, 22% said they would vote to remain and 24% would vote to leave. Stripping away the non-voters and the undecideds reveals those familiar figures: 52% would vote to leave, and 48% to remain.

Unsurprisingly, it’s those who opted for Brexit back in 2016 who are most likely to want to quit Eurovision: 34% of all Leave voters (or 71% of Leave voters who cast a vote on Eurovision), compared to only 18% of all Remain voters (36% of those who cast a Eurovision vote).

The survey also reveals that Britons are substantially more likely than people in six other European countries to believe that Eurovision is an inherently political contest. Close to a third (31%) of Brits who’ve watched the show believe the voting is based solely on politics, with a further 35% thinking it’s a factor. By contrast, only between 4% and 15% in the other European nations who have seen the show think that politics is the sole motivator when scoring, with a further 26% to 48% believing it plays a part.

Those who voted to Leave the EU in 2016 are more likely to think that the voting is entirely political (40%) than their Remain counterparts (26%).

Britons are less likely to be watching Eurovision, and our motivations for doing so tend to be different from other countries

Overall 82% of Brits have ever watched the Eurovision Song Contest, and a quarter of us (23%) intend to tune in for this year’s edition.

The anticipated viewing figure is markedly higher in Denmark (34%), Germany (36%), Norway (48%), Sweden and Finland (both 49%). Only the French are as unlikely as us to be watching (26%).

Britons most noticeably differ from other Europeans in that they seem to enjoy the competition on an ironic level.

A quarter (25%) say that the amusing commentary is the reason for watching, compared to just 4% to 10% in other countries. This was the most popular reason among Britons, and is doubtless down to the sarcastic stewardship of Terry Wogan and Graham Norton over the years.

We also tend to be more likely to say we watch it so we can make fun of it (19%, compared to between 7% and 11% everywhere else except Norway, where they are even more likely than us to be mocking the acts at 24%).

Other countries tend to have ‘nicer’ reasons for watching: the most popular response in Finland (44%) and Germany (25%) was to see how people from other countries perform; in France it’s because they like the music (19%) and in Denmark and Sweden it’s because their friends and family are watching (21% and 25% respectively).

See the Eurotrack toplines here and the detailed UK data here