After the whole kerfuffle over Andrew Marr's post-referendum comments, I went back and re-read a couple of the most prominent (academic) studies of the vote (notably the @sarahobolt article in @jepp_journal and the Clarke, Goodwin & Whiteley book)...
Most striking to me now is the emphasis on the multifaceted forces shaping the Brexit vote.
Sara highlights the 'funnel of causality' linking socio-demographics, identities, attitudes and vote choice. Harold et al. note "The narrow Brexit decision voters made on 23 June thus reflected a a complex, cross-cutting mix of calculations, emotions and cues".
In the latter study, the 'economy-international' predictor used has *the strongest effect* on the probability of voting Leave (though the immigration-terrorism predictor also has a substantial effect). The perceived risk of leaving and leader ratings mattered too.
Given the popular accounts of the Brexit vote that have dominated since, it feels like a lot of the nuance and care of analysis has been lost. Immigration and (English) identity certainly mattered, but these were far from the only factors.
So why have simplistic accounts come to dominate? It is difficult to be sure but it is perhaps some time for some reflection on how quite a complicated vote calculus has been reduced to a simple tale of the will of the people expressing a clear, homogeneous view.
The significance of this all is that claims to a clear, simple, unifying mandate delivered by the referendum are (sadly) completely bogus. The negotiating 'red lines' are a political construction.
Relying on poll cross-tabs on single questions to deduce the electorate's intent on June 23rd is a charade.
The essence of politics is, to steal from @ProfStoker, "about choosing between competing interests and views often demanding incompatible allocations of limited resources". Our approach to Brexit should have been about resolving the tensions and contradictions in the vote.
Ironically, 'Brexit means Brexit' captures this inherent contestability. The vote did not express a single collective will but many views and interests. British politics since has been about a retrospective attempt to construct the political meaning of the referendum.