The results of Britain's biggest ever post-election survey reveal the nation's changing political characterby Peter Kellner / June 4, 2015 / Leave a comment
Apart from the obvious—joy for the Tories and SNP, gloom for Labour and the Lib Dems, frustration for Ukip—what really happened on 7th May? YouGov has done Britain’s biggest ever post-election survey. We have questioned 100,000 people, weighting the data to both the demographic and political character of Britain today. Here we disclose our results for the first time.
The graphics show our main findings. Readers can draw their own conclusions. Here are mine:
Culture, not class
The biggest divides these days are cultural rather than those of class. This is clear not just from the rise of Ukip and the SNP, but from the 40 separate groups we have analysed. The four most Conservative groups are Telegraph, Mail, Express and Times readers; the three least conservative groups are Guardian, Mirror and Independent readers. Newspaper readership provides a far better predictor of Labour and Tory support than any other indicator.
Women for Labour
Nowadays, women are more likely than men to vote Labour. It used to be the other way round. For most of the post-1945 era, women tended to be more Tory than men. Detailed analysis from our post-election survey shows that something else is going on. Labour’s advantage is specifically among women under 50. Labour enjoyed a six-point lead among them—while the Tories led by five points among men under 50. Among people over 50, the Tories have a clear lead among both men (by 12 points) and women (by 15 points). In essence, among people born before the mid-1960s, the traditional gender gap persists, while among women born since then, the new gender gap takes over.
Public and private
There is a growing divergence between private and public sector workers. The Tories led Labour by 17 points among people working in the private sector, while Labour lead by three points among public sector workers. That 20-point gulf between the two groups has widened from a 16-point gulf in 2010 (16-point Tory lead among private sector workers, level-pegging among public sector workers). If this gulf persists, it’s good long-term news for the Conservatives, as private sector employment expands while the public sector contracts.
The rise in economic inequality is matched by voting trends. Among voters in households earning less than £20,000 a year, Labour’s lead widened from 3 per cent in 2010 to 7 per cent this year. While the Tories increased their leads by five points among the two highest-income groups: from 8 per cent to 13 per cent among those earning £40-69,000 a year, and from 23 per cent to 28 per cent among those earning more than £70,000 a year.
Explore the data:
Graduates for change
As in the United States, university graduates are the most likely to vote for progressive parties. If we combine the votes for Labour, the Lib Dems, Greens, SNP and Plaid Cymru into a “left” total and Conservatives and Ukip into a “right” total, then graduates voted left 57 per cent, right 41 per cent. Among people with no qualifications, or GCSE at most, the division was: left 40 per cent, right 58 per cent. The in-betweeners educationally (with A-levels or equivalent as their highest qualification) were also in-betweeners politically: left 51 per cent, right 48 per cent.
Across the Green divide
The Greens and Ukip appealed to opposite groups. Ukip’s strongest support came from readers of the Express (27 per cent) and Star (26 per cent) and from people with no qualification beyond GCSE (20 per cent). Green support for these groups was 1-2 per cent. The Greens’ strongest groups were Guardian readers (14 per cent), Independent readers (11 per cent) and full-time students (9 per cent). Ukip support among these groups was 1 per cent, 4 per cent and 6 per cent respectively.
It no longer makes any sense to discuss the ethnic minority vote as a single, combined group. Labour continues to win a clear majority among people whose roots are in the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian sub-continent—although even here between one fifth and one third voted Conservative. However, when we consider the votes of people with roots in Asia outside the Indian sub-continent—such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and Korea—we find that the Conservatives (47 per cent) lead Labour (34 per cent) by a full 13 points. And of all the 40 groups we analysed, their 6 per cent swing to the Tories since 2010 was the largest.
Explore the data: