Brexit: Leave Is in the Lead as More Than 95% of Results Have Been Declared

But the Remain side leads in some urban centers such as London and Manchester.

ByABC News
June 24, 2016, 12:49 AM

LONDON— -- As more than 95 percent of the results have been declared, the Leave campaign is leading in the crucial referendum on whether the United Kingdom will stay in the European Union or leave.

The Leave campaign is leading with about 52 percent of the votes so far against Remain's about 48 percent -- but all the votes have not been counted yet.

Each side needs 16.8 million votes to win -- as of 12:45 a.m. ET, Leave had around 16.4 million votes against Remain's about 15.3 million votes.

Leave's lead has led the Pound to fall to $1.39 -- a significant 9.25% drop because $1.40 has been the floor for the Pound since the mid 1980s.

The first results from England today showed greater than expected support for leaving. Newcastle, which was the first to declare a result in the country, voted to remain in the EU but by a very small margin: 50.7 percent voted to stay while 49.3 percent voted to leave. Sunderland voted to leave at 61.3 percent while 38.7 percent voted to stay.

The Northeast of England is leaning more toward leave than expected. Hartlepool, Basildon, Kettering, Broxbourne, Swindon and South Tyneside all voted to leave at a higher margin than expected, according to the BBC's polling index.

Remain is leading in London, Scotland and Northern Ireland so far, while leave is leading in Wales. The voter turnout based on the counted votes is at around 70 percent, which is very high compared to other UK elections.

Manchester voted Remain at 60.4 percent, while 39.6 percent voted Leave.

Gibraltar, the UK's overseas territory on the southwest tip of Spain, voted to remain in the EU by a big margin -- and was the first area to declare a result. Voter turnout in Gibraltar, which has been a British territory since 1713, was high at 84 percent and the vast majority of voters -- 96 percent -- voted to remain in the EU, while 4 percent voted to leave.

But Gibraltar is not representative of the rest of the UK because of the territory's small size and voter make-up.

The referendum is not legally binding and Parliament would still have to repeal the 1972 act that allowed the U.K. to join the E.U.

Heavy rain, lightning and floods hit large parts of the U.K. as residents headed to the polls earlier today. London's Fire Brigade received up to 300 calls overnight in three hours, the kind of volume it usually receives in a day. Flooding has caused relocation of at least two polling stations in suburban London.

"Our control staff and firefighters have been working tirelessly through the night and into this morning to deal with the huge volume of weather-related calls that we have received," the brigade said in a statement.

Among 46.5 million people voting in the referendum, scores could be affected by the weather conditions. Travel chaos is expected throughout the day with disruptions already affecting rail and subway networks, especially in London.

Turnout was expected to be high, with a record of 46.5 million entitled to vote in polling stations, which were open today between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. local time.

Recent polls in Britain tend to be relatively unreliable but the latest Ipsos Mori poll out this morning, and based on telephone interviews, found 52 percent of people wanted to remain in the European Union and 48 percent wanted to leave. At least two other recent polls, Opinium and TNS, have the “leave” camp at 1 point and 2 points ahead of the “remain” camp.

Prime Minister David Cameron and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn have already cast their votes, along with former London Mayor Boris Johnson, who has been campaigning for the U.K. to leave the union.

A “Brexit” would be a "turning point in the story of our country," Johnson said in an interview today in The Telegraph newspaper, adding he was prepared to sacrifice his career over his desire to see a Brexit.