There’s a fun little question over on PoliticsHome I haven’t seen before. They’ve asked each party’s voters how enthusiastic they are about their choice.

Conservative voters are by far the most enthusiastic, 47% say they are very enthusiastic about their choice, with a further 32% quite enthusiastic. Labour’s remaining voters are less enthusiastic – only 34% are very enthusiastic, with 31% quite enthusiastic. So most of the Tory vote isn’t holding its nose and forcing itself to vote Tory, it seem pretty happy about it.

Perhaps surprisingly, Liberal Democrat voters are least enthusiastic – only 24% are very enthusiastic, and 11% are “actively depressed but can’t see a better option” (the comparative numbers for Conservative and Labour voters is just 5%). My guess is that this is a reflection of the Liberal Democrats often being the natural benificiary of the “a plague on both their houses vote”.


63 Responses to “Tory voters are most enthusiastic”

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  1. Josh,
    The survey that you mention contradicts the one that Anthony quoted earlier (2:08pm), which showed that many who voted Labour in 1974 must have switched by 2005 to conservative. So if your recollection is correct, the picture is even more complicated – some generations change their voting habits as they get older, and some don’t.
    I wonder what the core vote of abstainers is? After all, they were by far the largest ‘party’ at the last election, with nearly as many (38.7%) of the electorate as Tory and Labour combined (41.4%)

  2. Random thought; wonder what would happen if a cross party consensus was to ‘develop’ arguing for compulsory attendance at voting booths like Australia (note- not compulsory voting as it’s inaccurately reported as)?

  3. It would probably make safe Labour seats even safer and likewise with safe Tory seats.

    It seems likely that the reason for the large number of non-voters in the last two elections is mainly down to the breakdown of a sense of a “duty to vote” amongst working class and younger voters. They never had a particularly high level of turnout before 2001 but since then it’s got much worse. Most of those working class voters live in seats where the result is not in doubt and therefore voting was for them in large part a purely symbolic activity, unlikely to change the overall result in terms of seats. In some ways they’ve made a rational decision in not bothering to vote recently.

  4. andy stidwill

    i live in a so called sfe seat but still vote for the party of my choice at the genaral election. many people do not vote in seats like mine beacuse they are seen as safe and party x-y or z will never beat the incumbant of that seat leicester east is a good one for that, however his seat may not be as safe this time around.

  5. and ow yes i forgot to say im 23yrs old

  6. Mark

    Re the local elections I will consider my predictions once I have sourced yours from the pb.com site.
    As you are the man for producing stats from local by election results perhaps you can tell me at the end of the month how the number of net gains made by the Lib Dems for the first 3 months of 2009 compares to the same period last year.
    It is a pity that at the end of your last contribution you allowed yourself to make reference to a rather crude word on this site-I have no idea who these people are that you are talking about-so I cannot possibly comment about their predictions.

  7. It’s an interesting question about compulsory voting. On the one hand, as Stuart says, you could argue that a lot of people don’t vote in safe seats because though they want a different party to win they think they’ve got no chance. On the other hand, most of the people who don’t bother to vote are in safe Labour seats in places such as Liverpool and Glasgow; they did bother to vote until 1987 but since then they haven’t turned out to the same extent.

  8. Nick Keene ,
    The first 3 months of 2008 had
    4 LibDem gains from Con ( 1 the Copnor result referred to in an earlier post ) and 1 from Labour but lost 3 to Conservatives 1 to Labour 1 to Ind and 1 loss to Ind with LibDem support .
    So far in 2009 2 gains from Conservative 2 from Labour 1 from Ind with 1 loss to Labour . There have also been 2 Labour gains from Conservative whereas no seats xhanged hands between Labour and Conservative in the 1st 3 months of 2008 .

  9. T&R also predicted Tory losses in the 2006 local elections (against 2002), and under-estimated them in 2007, both on votes and seats.

    The Tories gained over 900 seats in May 2007 – something the pundits and experts, even some of themelves, never gave them any credit for (perhaps because attention quickly turned to the new PM and his honeymoon).

    As for the Lib Dems, it’s been documented before many times, that local election by-elections have given them high shares of the vote on many occasions, somtimes around 30%. Not just in early 1997, 2001, and 2005, but also early 1989 when the Lib/SDP Alliance was collapsing. It doesn’t prove to count for much.

  10. Almost certainly the difference between the Lib Dem vote at local government level and national constituency is as a result of the perceived (and real) bias in the electoral system against them winning seats at Westminster. I seem to remember seeing a poll where voters were asked “How would you vote if you thought the Lib Dems could win in your area?” and the results were very much higher than in a normal “Who would you vote for?” type poll.

  11. How about also asking how would you vote if you thought Labour or the Tories could win in your area. That would change the results the other way in other seats.

  12. Mark,

    Do you have any evidence for your claim that LD vote for Westminster is depressed by having local elections same day ? How can you compute that given that there have been local elections on same day at every GE since the LDs were formed ?

    Surely the alternative argument – that LDs always attract a higher share for local elections than they do for general elections – is more plausible ?

    Also, LDs (and its predecessor parties) have a track record of performing well in Westminster By-elections (though they appear to have faltered in past two years), only to fall back to “normal” levels subsequently. This was always attributed to the LDs being able to mobilise their limited resources to focus on a single seat, but did not have the resources to do so nationwide. Surely the same could be argued for council by-elections ?

    The fact that LDs have seen their overall share of Local Council seats decline each May in recent years would support that view.

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