On Saturday we posted on Facebook Jon Trickett’s article – containing figures on voting patterns by social classes.

As promised then, we are continuing to feed facts and figures into the post- General Election election debate. It is essential that the Labour analysis of our defeat should be as well founded as possible. Ill-informed [or even totally uninformed] commentary is dangerous.

Today we are posting results from Lord Ashcroft’s poll of voters – taken on polling day itself.

OK – so you have no faith left in pollsters.
But this was more akin to an exit poll. And, most important, the data was collected before the result was known. It is not contaminated by knowledge of that result.

Ashcroft interviewed 12 253 people who had actually voted [so there are no non-voters here]. The poll was conducted online and by phone. The overall percentages for each party are slightly adrift from the final result – 33/34% Tory, 30/31% Labour [figures differ between his resumes and the detailed results]. The discrepancy with the final Tory vote may be explained by 3% who refused to say – an interesting fact in itself. The figures are also more heavily weighted towards postal voters than we would expect from the population as a whole – 31% of those contacted had voted by post, 68% in person. Of these postal voters – 33% of Tories voted by post, 31% LibDems, 34% UKIP, 30% Labour.

When did voters finally make up their mind?
33% of people made up their mind in the last week of the campaign – 11% on polling day itself. 26% of Tory voters made up their mind in the last week, 33% of Labour voters. 51% of LD voters, 31% of UKIP voters, 45% of Greens. 35% of Tory voters said they had always known they would vote Tory, 31% of Labour voters had always known they would vote Labour.

Gender patterns
Gender patterns were not especially marked – though more men than women voted Tory [33%:32%], more women than men voted Labour [32%:29%] more men than women voted UKIP [15%:12%].

Age patterns were more remarkable.
Labour was ahead of the Tories in every age group up to 54 [ so in 18-24 yr olds Labour 41%, Tories 24%; 25-34 – Labour 37%, Tories 26%; 35-44 – Labour 36%, Tories 26%; 45-54 – Labour 32%, Tories 28%]. This was reversed in older voters – 55-64, Labour 27%, Tories 34%; 65+ Labour 21%, Tories 45%. The weighting of the sample towards postal voters should be remembered here. The UKIP vote also rose with age – 8%, 7%, 12%, 15%, 16%, 16% across these age groups. The Green vote declined by age group – highest in under 24s at 10% falling to 2% in over 65s.

Social class [SNP omitted].
AB – Tory 39%; Labour 27%; UKIP 9%; LD 11%; Green 5%
C1 – Tory 33%; Labour 30%; UKIP 13%; LD 9%; Green 6%
C2- Tory 30%; Labour 30%; UKIP 20%; LD 7%; Green 4%
DE – Tory 22%; Labour 37%; UKIP 20%; LD 6%; Green 5%

By region
Labour led the Tories in the North, North West, Yorkshire and Humber, Greater London, Wales. [London was closest – Labour 36% Tories 34%]
Tories led Labour in East and West Midlands, East Anglia, South East and South West.

Change from 2010 – and earlier
The Tories showed least change in their vote since 2010 – 81% who voted Tory now had voted Tory then, 5% Labour, 11% LD, 2% UKIP.
Of those who voted Labour – 65% had voted Labour in 2010, 24% had voted LD, 1% UKIP, 1% Green.
Of UKIP voters – 41% had voted Tory in 2010, 14% Labour, 18% LD, 19% UKIP, 1% Green
Of Green voters – 9% had voted Tory, 18% Labour, 50% LD, 1% UKIP, 19% Green.
When asked which party they had usually voted for in previous elections UKIP voters said 40% Tory, 25% Labour.
29% of Green voters said they had usually voted Labour in the past, 25% of Green voters had previously voted LD.

Why did you vote as you did.
People were asked to choose 3 factors affecting their decision.
Tories – 71% of those who voted Tory trusted the motives and values of the party most; 71% thought the leader would make the best prime minster; 46% thought they would make a more competent government; 49% preferred the promises the Tories made.
Labour – 75% of those who voted Labour trusted the motives and values of the party most; 65% preferred the promises; 39% thought the leader would make the best prime minister; 26% the more competent government.
It’s worth noting that UKIP, Greens and SNP all scored very high on trust for motives and values and preferring the promises of their chosen party.
There is a marked difference between established parties of government and others here.
However, when asked specifically who would make the best prime minister – naming Cameron and Miliband – 97% of Tory voters, 52% of LDs and 56% of UKIP said Cameron. 79% of Labour voters and 47% of Greens said Milband, 21% of LD voters, 13% of UKIP named Miliband as best PM..

The issues.
It is worth reproducing these in full.

First voters perception of their own situation – where those who voted Tory were most likely to be feeling the benefit of ‘recovery’ or to expect to feel the benefit. Those who voted UKIP and Green were much closer to Labour voters here.
Screen Shot 2015-05-16 at 18.35.29
On the need to continue with austerity there was a marked difference between Labour and Tory voters on whether austerity had been necessary, and whether it was still necessary. UKIP and LD voters were more persuaded by the austerity arguments than Labour voters, though much less so than Tory voters. Greens and SNP, like Labour voters, were least persuaded that austerity was still necessary.
Screen Shot 2015-05-16 at 18.40.48
All voters were asked to name three issues they felt were most important for the country, and for them and their families.
Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 18.29.14
Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 20.14.56
The NHS scored high among all groups of voters, though especially among those who voted Labour.
Getting the economy growing and creating jobs scored high among all voters, reducing the deficit markedly less so – except among those who voted Tory.
Immigration was a huge priority for those who voted UKIP.

A few very obvious comments.
Labour won the election among voters under the age of 54 in this poll. We need to keep that clearly in view.
Labour lost regionally – essentially south of the Trent.
The social class break down parallels that in Jon Trickett’s figures. His figures emphasized how far we have been losing C2 and DE voters over a long period. The UKIP vote was especially high in these groups – and rose across the age groups.
The economy was an important factor – even though the NHS was the single issue which concerned most people.
Important as the NHS was as an issue, there were other significant issues for all voters.

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