75 per cent of Premier League clubs are found in Labour seats; by the National League, the figure is just 25 per centby Philip Cowley and Matthew Bailey / January 24, 2020 / Leave a comment
If we’re being honest, we should probably start by saying that football grounds don’t really explain the election result. But stick with us—because they do tell you quite a lot about Britain’s electoral divide.
The table shows the five top football divisions in England and Wales, starting with the Premier League and going down to the National League. The main colour marking—red, blue or whatever—shows the political party that holds the constituency in which you can find the club’s ground, along with an indication of whether the majority vote in that constituency was for Leave or Remain in the Brexit referendum in 2016.
Premier League grounds are overwhelmingly in Labour-held constituencies which voted Remain. Once you drop into the Championship, the Labour dominance continues, but with the majority of grounds in Leave-voting constituencies. By League One, the Labour dominance has gone and grounds are mainly in Leave-voting seats. This remains true for League Two and the National League. In the Premier League, 75 per cent of clubs are found in Labour seats; by the National League, the figure is just 25 per cent. In the Premier League, 70 per cent of grounds are in Remain-voting constituencies; by the National League, 67 per cent are in Leave-voting constituencies.
When we’ve done this exercise before, someone always jokingly suggests that this means that if you want your football club to be successful, you need to vote Labour and Remain. Just in case it’s not already blindingly obvious (it should be…), that’s not the causal link here. Premier League clubs are mostly in big cities, and big cities largely return Labour MPs and voted Remain. As you move down the leagues, you get smaller cities and towns, which are more likely to be Conservative and/or Leave-voting.
Indeed, since everyone is talking about the electoral importance of towns at the moment, note that in the top two divisions there are just two clubs with the word “Town” in their title (and none in the Premier League), compared to eight with “City” in their title. Whereas in the bottom three divisions, there are 14 “Town”s, and five “City”s.
We’ve underlined the seats that changed hands on 12th December. There were…