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Five things the Conservatives need to know about the UK 2017 General Election result


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The Joseph Rowntree Foundation outline what the Conservatives need to know about how people on low-incomes voted in the 2017 UK General Election.

To make it to No.10 and win a majority at the next general election the two main parties must win over low-income voters.

Analysis from the report: 'The UK 2017 General Election examined: income, poverty and Brexit' by: Matthew Goodwin and Oliver Heath for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Data source: British Election Study Internet Panel Wave 13.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Five things the Conservatives need to know about the UK 2017 General Election result

  1. 1. Five things the Conservatives need to know about the UK 2017 General Election result
  2. 2. 1 The Conservatives increased their support among low-income earners at the 2017 election, but there is much more to do to broaden the party’s appeal.
  3. 3. • 37% of low-income earners voted Conservative compared to 42% for Labour. Both parties increased their support among this demographic by about 8 percentage points.
  4. 4. • While the Conservatives’ vision of Brexit attracted low-income voters, Labour’s radical anti-austerity programme attracted them more.
  5. 5. • No political party made a major and clear breakthrough with low-income voters, with class being less of a dividing line than education and age.
  6. 6. 2 The ‘Brexit effect’ alone was not enough to win over enough low-income earners to make considerable gains in Labour-held seats.
  7. 7. • The party’s stance on Brexit certainly helped attract a significant proportion of low-income voters (controlling immigration being a very powerful message), especially those living outside major urban centres with low educational qualifications.
  8. 8. • Of an estimated 140 Labour held seats in England that had given their support to leaving the EU, the average Conservative vote increased by 8.3 percentage points, compared to an average of 4.6 points across England as a whole.
  9. 9. • Each of the six Labour seats captured by the Conservatives voted for Brexit – for example, in the traditional Labour seat of Mansfield, the Conservative vote increased by more than 18 points.
  10. 10. • Yet Labour contained this advance, even capturing more than a dozen seats from the Conservatives that are estimated to have voted for Brexit in the referendum.
  11. 11. 3 Financial concerns – both personally and in the surrounding community – influenced the vote of lower-income voters enough for them to vote Labour.
  12. 12. • People who thought their household’s financial situation had got worse in the year up to the election were almost twice as likely to vote Labour than Conservative.
  13. 13. • After controlling for individual attributes, the probability of voting Conservative varies from 48% in low risk of poverty (e.g. Wimbledon) to just 27% in places with high levels of poverty (e.g. Bradford West).
  14. 14. • The probability of voting Conservative for someone who has a high income and lives in an area with a low level of poverty is 62%, while the probability of someone who has a low income in a highly deprived area is 23% – a difference of 40 points.
  15. 15. 4 Demographic changes in Britain’s population could affect the electoral landscape.
  16. 16. • Turnout in 2017 was the highest since 1997 at 69%. There were major increases in seats with large proportions of young people, graduates, ethnic-minority communities and people who voted to remain in the EU referendum.
  17. 17. • The ‘youth quake’ was particularly prominent in seats such as Canterbury, Cambridge, Manchester, Withington and Chester. Of the 50 seats that recorded the sharpest increase in turnout, only 14 were in London.
  18. 18. • The Conservative vote declined by 0.5 points in the 20 most ethnically diverse seats, while Labour’s vote increased by 10 points. Just 25% of ethnic-minority communities voted Conservative compared to 61% who voted Labour.
  19. 19. 5 …policies that would help low-income voters.
  20. 20. 1. Doubling enrolment in basic skills training - so 5 million adults lacking basic literacy, numeracy and digital skills can find work. 2. Making markets work by ending the poverty premium – where people in poverty pay £490 more a year for everyday goods and services. 3. Using the industrial strategy to drive up pay and productivity in low-paid sectors and left behind places. 4. Building 80,000 homes a year to rent and buy at Living Rents - affordable for people earning the National Living Wage. 5. Allow families to keep more of what they earn and ensure work always pays – by restoring Universal Credit work allowances.
  21. 21. The UK 2017 General Election examined: income, poverty and Brexit Read the report by: Matthew Goodwin and Oliver Heath for JRF Data source: British Election Study Internet Panel Wave 13