How Sun readers vote


In one of the previous threads someone asked how Sun readers actually vote. Well, now I can tell you! MORI have rushed out figures from their aggregated data looking at just that.

MORI’s aggregated data for the last 9 months has voting intentions of CON 41%, LAB 26%, LDEM 19%. Amongst Sun readers though it was CON 42%, LAB 29%, LDEM 12% – so while there isn’t much difference in Conservative support, Sun readers are actually a bit more Labour and a bit less Lib Dem than the population as a whole, meaning the Tories have a lower lead amongst Sun readers than elsewhere in the country.

That said, if you go back and compare this to MORI’s aggregated figures from 2005 (which indeed they have), Sun readers have swung more heavily towards the Tories – a swing of 12.5%, as opposed to 9% in the country as a whole.


48 Responses to “How Sun readers vote”

  1. I remember a poll from back in the 80s when the Sun was arch-Thatcherite. Sun readers were asked which party their paper supported and an amazingly large number (I can’t remember the statistic but it might even have been the majority) either didn’t know or got the answer wrong…. I suspected then (and now) that the readers by and large didn’t read the comment pieces and didn’t pick up on the subtle (ha!) political slant of the news items…

  2. One would assume that support for the far-right is higher amongst Sun readers than the population as a whole. It would be interesting to see data showing if this is indeed the case.

  3. …and how *many* of them vote?!

  4. @Andy Stidwell

    Yes, then you could make it illegal to read the Sun as well!

    How many people would genuinely answer that question unless it came on a scratchcard?!

  5. “It was the Sun wot won it”…..not quite.

    But its damn good news for Tory-kind. Power is within reach, the work to rebuild the country could soon start…oh wait….this is just a newspaper- and its not even supporting my Scottish tory lot.

    The Sun, I personally loath the squalid rag- its not compatible with my compassinate one nationism. Murdoch can stick his ‘endorcement’ so far as I could care.

  6. Nobody *reads* the Sun, they just lick the pictures.

    Sorry “like”, I meant “like”.

    It’s just Murdoch signalling to the rest of the media so they can square up in journo battle formation for a newspapery hoe-down.

  7. This “tearing up the Sun” stunt is the most ludicrous thing I’ve seen at a conference in a long time. As above I’m far from a Sun reader, but people or newspapers should be able to express a political preference without this sort of childish reaction.

  8. For me it sums up the Labour Party. Cross them and they turn on you with an evilness.

    ————————

    That is a neutral response about polls?

    This blog is slowly but surely going to the dogs. Too much party politicking.

    Get a handle on it please Anthony – or else this will just become another sad tit-for-tat type blog of little interest but to those who like an argument.

  9. It’s better out in the open so that the bias in their reporting can be understood by those with the wit to aappreciate it.
    Trevor Kavanagh never liked labour but did his masters bidding, ever seen him on TV.

  10. Have you seen Sun readers on the train? they scan the headlines, have a quick flash at page 3, and turn to the sport and tonights TV.

    When it is clear which party will form the next government the Sun backs it. Posters on here have been in no doubt for months, except a few of the Labour supporters in denial, and the Sun must have held the decision back for the conference.

  11. The most awful thing for the Sun would be to back the wrong winner of an election, which is why they’re careful to support whoever is going to win. 1974 must have been difficult for the paper since both elections were so close between the parties.

  12. Actually Lick could well be as accurate as like. As to voting I am sure most of them can manage an x.

    Peter.

  13. Can I ask someone (ANYONE) if they have the Sun readership voting history for 2005 for a Scottish context?

  14. I find the poll results interesting. I would have expected a higher percentage of Labour sympathizers.
    I do sense a certain amount of intellectual snobbery in some of the posts above. Let’s not forget that in our democracy the votes of Sun readers are just as important as ours. Neither are they all dullards; my daughter reads it, and she is bright enough to have got into Mensa. She just finds it the right size to read in her lunch hour.

    While we have ‘one man, one vote’ we should treat the views of Sun readers with as much respect as anyone else’s. Personally, I don’t think ‘one man, one vote’ is a good idea, but that’s another question.

  15. I think one man one vote is a good idea but I’m not sure whether I really respect the views of Sun readers very much.

  16. ANDY STIDWELL
    “The most awful thing for the Sun would be to back the wrong winner of an election.”
    You obviously have forgotten that they backed Major over Kinnock who was expected to win in 1992

  17. I think one man one vote is possibly the worst idea that could govern any political system. You will be governed by the weight of mass ignorance which far outweighs the views of people who have sufficient interest and intellectual curiosity and brain processing power to understand politics. This means that politicians are then obliged to pander to that mass ignorance, with the effect that political debate and, ultimately, policy, is reduced to black and white, gaudy idiocy, and then controlled by the media. The problem is that only intelligent people make up their own mind- the intellectually challenged let others do it for them, and so one man one vote is a one way ticket to a media run dictatorship.

    Until voting power in some way reflects intellect, the people will absolutely never be the real masters.

  18. Maybe everyone should have a vote but it should be weighted according to brain power. :-)

  19. @ Mike

    But the Sun DIDN’T back the wrong person; they were right and the polling groups were wrong. (Look, I mentioned the topic…)

    @ Lukw

    There’s a rebalancing: people who don’t know/don’t care enough to vote exclude themselves by not voting.

    Also, I’d really avoid “philosopher-kings”; smart people, I think in history, seriously over-rate their own abilities against the chaotic mass that is reality. It’s one of the reasons I’m so against Brown’s regulation binges, and patriarchal “gov’t knows best” government espoused even by the Tories 1950-1979.

  20. @Lukw

    Otherwise intelligent people often have completely insane political views. Nick Griffin a Cambridge graduate for example.

    Maybe you could filter out people who vote for the wrong parties instead. Isn’t that a sure-fire way of finding out if they know enough about politics?

  21. the sun did an online poll suggesting that 59% of readers will be voting conservative hmmmmm

  22. Sun readers, (or Mirror or Star readers…) as groups are just capable of making the key decisions which boil down to:

    Which politicians are sleaze bags
    Which are honest
    Which can be trusted to make the right decisions
    When a party is ready to govern
    When a party is tired with its ideas used up

    I can’t remember an election where, as a country, we got this wrong.

  23. Richard – there was a greeat article by the discovers of dna – they said they weren’t the most intellectually able scientists, but had an advantage because they had a team that worked together, rather than simply following the star scientists (which their peer/competiitors did in their efforts)

    That’s not quite the same as letting a mass of ignorance vote in things that clearly don’t work, simply on the basis that they feel like they work. The chaos has to be supported by some pursuit of truth (and The Sun doesn’t have a great history of telling the trtuth)

  24. onthejob – voodoo poll :)

  25. Some of the comments here about the Sun and it’s readers are so ‘snobbish’ they can hardly be taken seriously.

    One thing that can, possibly, be concluded is that the papers regular readership are likely to be less interested in politics than the middle and upper class ‘elite’ that comment here.

    That said thenh, I would have thought that their views ARE more likely to be swayed by their daily read more than most voters. Good or bad the Suns decision will add a percent or two to the Tory/Lab gap come the election I’m sure.

  26. @ John TT

    No, The Sun doesn’t have a great history of telling the truth; it’s a useful psychological support, but I’m surprised that Labour cared that much about it.

    And of course the pursuit of truth is useful (I hope this PhD proves useful!) But I distinguish truths such as DNA with “currently best decisions” like those of government; it’s very hard to do a controlled experiment on an entire country!

    E.g. Was it best to buy most of our major banks? Or would it have been better to give them emergency, short-term loans and forced them to sort themselves out? Brown voted for the first, John Redwood and other Tories would have voted for the 2nd, . Undoubtedly, the 2nd would have caused more immediate pain, but would we have been better-off in the long-term? It’s debatable; I’d vote for the 2nd.

  27. Horrid Captcha thing

    Akismet (the automatic spam plugin WordPress uses for spam detection) was making things run horribly slowly for some reason – hence I’m experimenting with this instead.

    Horrible I know, but it means comments submit immediately rather than taking 30 seconds.

  28. I’d vote for the first on the basis that the banks were in denial about how much they were in trouble. Free money until the middle east and China stepped in to buy the banks for next to nothing? Redwood was suggesting something like that at the time.

    Sun readers (and most others) aren’t swayed by hypotheticals, but i’m sure you Richard appreciate what the consequences would have been if a high street bank had not been able to dispense money after that weekend.

    The DNA researchers who won the race did so because they worked together, instead of deferring to a star leader. I think that’s a message to whoever takes over next May. You don’t need the brightest intellects on the case if you have the best ways of working as a team.

  29. As far as I can tell, the Sun does a very good job of following the party that is most likely to win. Even if you draw an exception for 1992 (though at the very least Tory high command knew about the Shy Tory factor before the results) the Sun certainly was FOLLOWING public opinion in 1997, not LEADING it.

    The same is true now: the Tories have been thrashing Labour in the polls for ages. Cum hoc ergo propter hoc is a logical fallacy and it’s an even more obvious one than post hoc ergo propter hoc. However, that’s a less snappy headline than “It was the Sun wot swung it”, so once again aetiology must bow before the persuasive power of journalism.

  30. @ John TT

    Well, we can at least agree to disagree! It rather illustrates the point that we don’t know what would have happened in the other direction…

    And I appreciate the results of a high-street bank crash: we saw Northern Rock, after all. But there were several ways of trying to prevent a domino effect. Do you trust the judgment of the man whose regulatory changes preceded the first crash in 5 generations to choose which regulations ought to prevent the next?

  31. Richard – Ironically, The Sun’s readership probably (rightly in my view) blame the bankers for the crash rather than Brown’s “profligacy” or lack of preventative regs.

    The reasons The Sun will tell them not to trust Brown is more to do with “broken Britain”, immigration, Europe and the fact that we’re in a recession.

    Where you and I disagree is probably guessable without clogging up this thread

    Unfortunately, The Sun is likely to go with “Why can’t the Govt give us £175bn?, the banks don’t deserve it” line. Appealing but silly.

    It’s fiendishly difficult to win an argument with hypotheses and conditionals, but even more so if you are the party in power.

    When Brown says “Vote Cameron, get Murdoch”, or “it would have been worse under Cameron”, he will rely on enough people trusting him as a person to believe what he says is true.

    He’s got work to do, to put it mildly!

  32. @ LUKW, yet another argument in favour of AV, or AV+?

  33. @ Ant, if this stops socialism from messing everything up I’m in favour.

  34. Nope, apparently the filtered word list is still in place, ya don’t need that AND captcha surely?

  35. Go on then, I’ve taken cialis off the naughty list.

  36. It’s the last paragraph of Anthony’s comments which contain the real point: it is not so much the levels of support for different parties amonst “Sun” readers as how many “Sun” readers are prepared to change their voting intentions.

    Anthony tells us that the evidence is that “Sun” voters are more likely than voters in general to change their voting intentions, at least in that recently they have been going Tory. Which is in line with “It’s the Sun wot won it.” And is course bad news for Labour given recent events.

    I suspect that “The Sun” may be particularly likely to shift male working class voters (I don’t know if there is any evidence for this). This may be particularly bad news for Labour as polls over recent months has suggested that the seats in the balance are those around 150 on the Tory target list, which include a disproportionate number of quite working class English seats. The likes of Gloucester and reading West.

    It would be interesting to know if there is information across the various newspapers as to how volativel their reading intentions are.

    All this analysis relates to voters who rely on newspapers for their news. This is still true of many “Sun” readers, e.g. transport workers who take a paper into their cab. But, particularly for younger voters, newspapers and televisions are to some extent being supplanted by the internet and other new technology.

  37. When the FT advised its readers to vote Labour in 1992 I think we can be fairly confident that most of them didn’t pay much attention.

    Actually, I’ve just remembered the Times Guide 1992 has figures for each newspaper. These were the figures for FT readers in 1992:

    C – 65%
    Lab – 17%
    LD – 16%

  38. I don’t think anyone ever read the FT for its political comment but I do remember it used to give a very full summary of Parliament as well as the best foreign news of any British newspaper.

  39. (What’s the point in all this CAPTCHA rubbish – I’ve never seen a whiff of Nigerian Viagra Lottery numbers on this site!)

    “Pete B

    I find the poll results interesting. I would have expected a higher percentage of Labour sympathizers.
    I do sense a certain amount of intellectual snobbery in some of the posts above. Let’s not forget that in our democracy the votes of Sun readers are just as important as ours. Neither are they all dullards; my daughter reads it, and she is bright enough to have got into Mensa. She just finds it the right size to read in her lunch hour.”

    Yeah… Many of my chums are white van men, and I’ve plenty of life experience of watching the red top reader in the wild… they go for page 2 for the rant, with an unobtrusive glance to the right; move swiftly to the soft gossipy centre; and make haste for the feast of football and crossword at the business end of the paper… same deal every tea break at the building college without fail.
    I don’t read any papers (neither before, during, or after when I worked for PA as a student copytaker for three years; and not because I’m dyslexic, but because I noticed in my teens that they are basically corporate trolling organisations).
    I like the way you work eligibility for membership of Mensa into an anti-snobbery jibe – what an oxymoronic organisation!

    LukeW sounds like he’d love the 19th century…
    Would you go for phrenology examinations to sort your patricians from your plebs?
    Your system would work a treat, as long as we replace the hard left education system with a hard right one ; )
    I take your general point to an extent… Raising the voting age to 30 might be a healthy idea… a bit of life experience might reduce the threat of leftistness; and raising the minimum age for MPs as well to prevent careerists.

    I doubt much more than 20-30% of Sun readers actually bother to vote (mind you that’s still the best part of a million people!); in my experience, those I’ve encountered are more likely to vote *for* jobs – whatever that might mean in the political landscape… these are not tribal ideologues.
    In contrast, the readers of other papers, are far more likely to vote; the influence of the Sun in terms of votes cast is not proportional to it’s sales.

  40. @Promsan
    My idea for improving the quality of the voting public would be to give extra votes. We could start by giving people an extra vote if they have been in employment (and hence taxpayers) for 6 months at the time of completing the voting register. This could easily be verified by looking at tax records.

    “I doubt much more than 20-30% of Sun readers actually bother to vote” – do you have any evidence for this?

    As I have got older, I really do feel that nearly everyone in society has value. So what if someone reads the Sun, and perhaps likes his pint on a Friday night, and never goes to the Opera? Does that make him any less of a man?

  41. @Pete B
    My idea for improving the quality of the voting public would be to give extra votes. We could start by giving people an extra vote if they have been in employment (and hence taxpayers) for 6 months at the time of completing the voting register. This could easily be verified by looking at tax records.

    Yeah, not bad… do you exclude the retired, poorly, and infirm? I assume you retain the old convicts and lunatics rule (though I’d make Labour Party membership a sectionable personality disorder).

    “I doubt much more than 20-30% of Sun readers actually bother to vote” – do you have any evidence for this?

    No not really. Just my unverifiable observations and prejudices. Test it out… next time you see a Sun reader, ask them if they vote… so far, my count is lower than 20%, I assume that there are more than I encounter. My point was that this poll is a bit useless without a turnout-related question.

    As I have got older, I really do feel that nearly everyone in society has value. So what if someone reads the Sun, and perhaps likes his pint on a Friday night, and never goes to the Opera? Does that make him any less of a man?

    No, but it might make him more of a tit (apart from the Opera… mind you I don’t mind having it on the radio at times when doing something else, but I wouldn’t pay to sit and watch it, but I digress…).
    Not everyone in society has equal value all the time… most of us are a waste of space at some point in our lives; and some more than others. I believe that the value, the true compassion comes from a swift kick up the arse and a bit of education/training, rather than cuddles and benefits.

  42. @Promsan
    “Yeah, not bad… do you exclude the retired, poorly, and infirm? I assume you retain the old convicts and lunatics rule (though I’d make Labour Party membership a sectionable personality disorder).”

    Obviously details could be worked out like retired people who had been in employment for x years could have an extra vote. I’d allow lunatics the vote – after all, you have to allow the Prime Minister to have one.

    “the true compassion comes from a swift kick up the arse and a bit of education/training, rather than cuddles and benefits.”

    I agree, and in my experience most Sun readers are workers. Mind you I don’t mix much with dole scroungers.

    To get back to the subject of the blog – I’m not surprised that not many Sun readers are Liberals. Again, no evidence, but one imagines that they would tend to have fairly basic, strong opinions one way or the other, without much wishy-washyness.

  43. Actually, I’d be interested to see if there is any data on turnout by newspaper.

  44. @PB
    “I’d allow lunatics the vote – after all, you have to allow the Prime Minister to have one.”

    …you probably have to be a lunatic to want to be PM these days!

    I agree with the small biz/trades depiction of the Sun reader; but I strongly believe that the turnout for red top readers is much lower than for quasi-qualities (e.g. the Times) and niche-qualities (e.g. Economist); plus I think the political activity is also much less (in terms of discussing politiics and getting people to vote and going on marches… mind you the EDL look like reversing that latter propensity). I expect the Sun to maintain a steady drift to the right, which will make the election beyond the next one particularly interesting, given the steady decline of newspaper circulations…

    www guardian co uk/media/table/2009/sep/11/abcs-pressandpublishing

    The shift in Star and Indy circulations says a lot to me… I once did a spell in a building college not too many years ago, and observed the Star being read, and talked to those reading it… gossip, football, and crossword, that’s all; not politics and voting… most tellingly, the irrelevance and antipathy towards Labour was already there in way it didn’t use to be in the 90s and earlier.

    http : // trends.google.com/websites?q=sun.co.uk%2Cdailymail.co.uk%2Ctelegraph.co.uk%2Ctimesonline.co.uk%2Cguardian.co.uk%2Cindependent.co.uk&geo=GB&date=all&sort=1

    longer-term Rising traffic
    Daily Mail

    longer-term Falling traffic (high traffic)
    Sun, Telegraph, Guardian, Times

    longer-term Falling traffic (medium traffic)
    FT, Mirror, Independent

    low traffic:
    Express, Daily Record, Daily Star,

    I think that provides some hints towards the likely demographic and turnout of particular newspaper readers.

  45. NB, that the online traffic does not pair up with the meatspace circulation.

    (Maybe I should do my own polling site! Focus on papers and the Others!?)

  46. As for scotland, the Scotsman although in chronic decline, seems to do a lot better online than on the street; in complete contrast to the Record; the Herald seems practically invisible.
    Scottish Sun seems to be doing ok.

    trends.google.com/websites?q=dailyrecord.co.uk%2Cscotsman.com%2Cwww.heraldscotland.com&geo=GB&date=all&sort=1

    Scottish Mirror, Star, and Mail, and Express don’t do their own sites.

    It’s a different narrative in Scotland anyway, one that probably won’t change until/unless independence happens or the movement is broken somehow.

  47. here’s another source on the question of turnout…

    www2 .politicalbetting.com/index.php/archives/2009/10/02/how-voting-splits-according-to-newspaper-type/

  48. ‘To get back to the subject of the blog – I’m not surprised that not many Sun readers are Liberals. Again, no evidence, but one imagines that they would tend to have fairly basic, strong opinions one way or the other, without much wishy-washyness.’

    Alternatively Liberals can read …