Monday, 3 October 2011

Mark says it was the women, I am not so sure

In today's lead article on, Mark Gill contends that it was women who denied the Conservatives an overall majority in the election last year. I however wish to contend that actually it was men who denied Cameron a majority.

After the election in May 2010, I found data referring to exit polls going back to the October 1974 general election and was amazed at how much information there was as it not only showed the national exit poll, but how the genders voted, but the ages and the social classes and by using the calculation for swing several election mysteries began to make sense.

Why did Labour do so badly in 1983?
In the 1983 general election, there was a national swing of 5% from Labour to Conservative. This swing was repeated evenly among the genders,  but not quite so evenly among the ages. There was only a 4% swing in new voters, a 3% swing in second and third time voters, but a 6% swing in the older voters. But what really did it for Labour in 1983 was the 4% swing to Conservative in their traditional class, the DE's, In October 1974, this class recorded a 57% Labour vote, in 1983 it was only 41% with most of the change in support going to the Alliance.

Why did the Conservatives win in 1992?
A 2% swing to Labour in 1992 was nowhere near the swing that Labour needed even for a hung parliament. Men recorded a 4% swing to Labour (hung parliament), Women recorded a 1% swing (Con maj) but the real problem was the famous C2's. The voters who were able to make seats such as Basildon change hands didn't swing as much. Labour only managed a 3% swing which explains why seats like Southampton, Itchen was a Lab gain but Basildon was a Con hold.

So why didn't Cameron gain an overall majority in 2010? Well, the national swing was 5% to Conservative. Men recorded the national swing, but women did better recording a 6% swing. If anyone denied Cameron an overall majority it was the first time voters. Compared with 2005, Labour fell by 7%, the Conservatives rose by 2% (a 5% swing) but it was the Liberal Democrats who rose by 4% (indicating a 1% swing from Con to Lib Dem) who puts the brakes on a Con overall majority and might also explain why as soon as the Liberal Democrats broke their tution fees promise the Liberal Democrat vote has collapased to 1979 levels (and lower in some polls)

1 comment:

Plato said...

How fascinating - thanks for that.