From the BBC:
What has happened?
A referendum – a vote in which everyone (or nearly everyone) of voting age can take part – was held on Thursday 23 June, to decide whether the UK should leave or remain in the European Union.
Leave won by 52% to 48%.
The referendum turnout was 71.8%, with more than 30 million people voting. It was the highest turnout in a UK-wide vote since the 1992 general election.
[W]ho wanted the UK to leave the EU?
The UK Independence Party, which won the last European elections, and received nearly four million votes – 13% of those cast – in May’s general election, campaigned for Britain’s exit from the EU.
About half of Conservative MPs, including five cabinet ministers, several Labour MPs and the DUP were also in favour of leaving.
What were their reasons for wanting the UK to leave?
They said Britain was being held back by the EU, which they said imposed too many rules on business and charged billions of pounds a year in membership fees for little in return. They also wanted Britain to take back full control of its borders and reduce the number of people coming here to live and/or work.
One of the main principles of EU membership is “free movement”, which means you don’t need to get a visa to go and live in another EU country. The Leave campaign also objected to the idea of “ever closer union” and what they see as moves towards the creation of a “United States of Europe”.
Although the vote was a stunning defeat for British Prime Minister David Cameron, The Hill reports:
If the vote was a defeat for elites in Great Britain and Europe, it was also a defeat for President Obama.
In a visit to London earlier this year, Obama lobbied voters against exiting the EU, warning they could not guarantee they’d get a new trade agreement with the United States.
That effort, almost certainly done in cooperation with British Prime Minister David Cameron, appeared to backfire given the vote. At the time, “leave” supporters argued that Obama should not have meddled in Britain’s affairs.
And as Newsmax reports:
Obama’s threatening remarks against Britain over Brexit seemed to have ignited a tempest.
Upon leaving the EU, Obama said, Britain should not expect a new trade deal with the U.S., that it would be “in the back of the queue.”
In a subsequent interview with the BBC, Obama suggested that a new trade deal with America’s closest ally “could be five years from now, 10 years from now before we were able to actually get something done.”
Obama’s use of the Briticism “queue” for the word “line” triggered widespread speculation that the President’s comments had, in fact, been written for him at 10 Downing Street.
Former London Mayor Boris Johnson, a staunch opponent of remaining in the EU and allowing unbridled immigration, blasted Obama’s remarks as “paradoxical, inconsistent, and incoherent.”
A Daily Mail editorial was equally brutal of Obama’s anti-Brexit interference, saying Obama had shown “contempt for voters.”
“The tone was patronizing, the language menacing – and the message not only hypocritical but, frankly, insulting,” it added. “… He has no business to come here and preach that submission to Brussels is good for the people of the U.K.
Indeed, polling analysis after Obama’s intervention suggests he increased the resolve of the “Leave” voters:
The ICM polling firm found that 46 percent of British voters surveyed want the UK to leave while 44 per cent want to stay. “The result suggests that Barack Obama’s call for the UK to stay in the EU failed to shift support towards the Remain camp,” reported a story for April 28 in the UK’s Express.
“Interviews for the ICM internet tracker poll were carried out during the US President’s visit to Britain last week during which he claimed Britain would lose global influence by leaving the EU and fall to the back of the queue in negotiations for a US trade deal,” the Express story noted. Further noting the unfavorable Obama impact, the article reported:
Jennifer Bottomley, of ICM, said Mr Obama’s remarks may even have strengthened the resolve of Brexit supporters to vote in the referendum on June 23.
She said: “Interestingly, we do see a hardening of resolve among Leave supporters when it comes to turnout, with 80 per cent saying they are absolutely certain to vote, compared with 75 per cent who said the same in our first April poll, perhaps reflecting a sense of displeasure about Mr Obama’s comments.”
[T]he ICM poll may indicate that the non-stop anti-Brexit fear campaign is failing. The pro-Brexit side appears to be easily winning the debate on the very heated issue of refugees/migration, and is also making a strong case on economic matters as well, despite the anti-Brexit claims that economic calamity would follow a decision to exit the EU.