In the week YouGov put up some figures comparing people’s responses in May 2010 with their opinions now, based on the aggregated data from all the daily polls in November. The main purpose was to look at what has happened to people who voted Lib Dem in 2010, but we can also see what has happened to other parties’ votes.

73% of people who told YouGov in 2010 that they would vote Conservative would still do so today – the biggest losses are 8% to other parties (which will largely be UKIP), and 12% of former Tory voters saying they don’t know what they would do. There is very little shift from Tory to Labour – only 3% of 2010 Tory voters would now vote Labour.

Labour have the best retention of their 2010 vote (unsurprisingly, given they are considerably above their 2010 vote in current polls!). 80% of people who voted Labour in 2010 would do so now, the biggest loss is 9% of people who don’t know, the other lost votes are split across the board.

Finally the Lib Dems. Note first that this is people said they voted Lib Dem in 2010 – as we know, the polls in 2010 overestimated the level of Lib Dem support, so some of these lost Lib Dem voters probably didn’t actually vote Lib Dem in May 2010 either). That caveat aside, of those who said they voted Lib Dem in 2010 only 25% say they would vote Lib Dem tomorrow. Another 26% would vote Labour, 9% would vote Conservative and 24% don’t know what they would do.

This big chunk of former Lib Dems saying don’t know is, incidently, the reason for some of the big contrast in the Lib Dem scores reported by different companies: ICM and Populus estimate a proportion of these don’t knows will end up voting Lib Dem in practice, and allocate them back to the party in their topline figures.

Looking at the decline in the Lib Dem vote, there are some obvious trends – people who voted for the Lib Dem tactically are most likely to have left, people who voted Lib Dem primarily for Clegg are more likely to have been lost than those who voted Lib Dem for policy reasons, people who decided to vote Lib Dem during the 2010 campaign are much more likely to have abandoned the party than longer term supporters. None of these are remotely surprising!

In looking at the Lib Dem drop in support though, it’s important to note point made by Mark Pack here – the Lib Dems normally have much higher churn than the other two main parties, it’s perfectly normal for them to lose lots of voters from one election to the next. It’s just that in the past these have been replaced by new voters. The Lib Dems are currently picking up very, very few new voters. Only 1% of people who voted Conservative or Labour last time say they would vote Lib Dem in a general election tomorrow.

65 Responses to “2010 voters: where are they now?”

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  1. Okay, it’s time for some expert analysis here…

    The fact that so much of Labour’s advance since 2010 has been as a result of Lib Dem defectors (and the fact that these defectors are, as Anthony says, people who tend to “churn”) it follows that Labour’s advance is built largely on sand.

    This is especially true when you consider what Anthony says about those people who voted tactically for the Lib Dems being the ones who are most likely to have deserted the party in large numbers (because in the LibDem/Tory marginals, one assumes that many of them will be likely to return to the fold come the big day).

    This suggests that whilst Labour will probably retain some LibDem defectors, we really need to advance more strongly among 2010 Tory voters. That we are only getting 3% of their votes is almost unheard of at this stage of a Conservative-led parliament – however, that may change.

    Lastly, I agree with JimJam: we should give Ed Miliband the chance to lead us into the next election, and I say that as someone who supported his brother in the leadership election. Whilst Ed does have an image problem, we should try harder to promote his positive attributes.

    Besides, I’m not sure if anyone else can do that much better. (Don’t forget, here, that DM has his own idiosyncrasies which the media will pounce on). Plus, a change of leader will cause too much upheaval.

    Let’s stay the course, do our best (while recognising that most opposition leaders have problems) and review the siutation after 2015. Even regardless of the psephology, EM has surely earned the right to give it a go.

  2. Alec “Cameron doesn’t appear to have any principles”. Are you saying that a party that supports Cameron and his economic policies to the extent of an (unprecedented) 94%, is prepared to accept a leader to whom this applies or is too stupid to understand what is going on?


    you misquoted Alec.

    What he actually said was “Cameron doesn’t have any principles”.

    It is not a matter of perception-Alec KNOWS about these things .


  4. Can someone please put the VI in the thread YouGov survey into context:-

    What does it actually mean ?


    I fully agree that the Labour advance is on sand.

    I agree that Labour’s advance among tory voters is very poor.

    Therefore I cant agree that ED (not supported by majority of the pLP or the CLP’s in the leadership election) deserves to be leader.

    There may not be an alternative.

    Maybe Labour voters prefer to feel comfortable than to winning

  6. RAF,if that is true,it could be an unfortunate choice of
    butcher.How many people know how halal meat is
    actually killed?

  7. Robin H/ Chris L

    Re: Labour have only pulled 3% of the May10 Con voters.

    With respect, you are both missing something rather important in your rush to compare this unfavourably against previous Con administrations.

    In May10, the Tories didn’t actually do very well. Their vote share was hugely lower than that of any other “winning” Tory performance since the War and probably for long before that.

    So, my take is that the Tories were already not a huge way above their bedrock support anyway. In that light, it is difficult to see how Kabour could be expected to pull many more Con voters.

    I’ll suggest again that you go back and look at the graphs I put up in the previous thread before you claim I CE more that Labour has no hope but to tack rightwards and pull more Tory voters. The final graph I posted shows the percentage of the whole sample in both May 10 and Nov11 who saw themselves as 0-9 on Anthony’s left-right scale, also separated by party. It jumps out at you that the percentage of people who see themselves as centrists and support the Tories has dropped markedly. The current Tory support now peaks sharply around the “7” point, whereas in May10, there were two more or less equal peaks at 5 & 7.

    So, Labour is fishing from a smaller pool of centrist Tories. Just how far rightwards do you suggest Labour should go to start pulling at the “7” Tories?

  8. @ Colin

    As regards stating that Cameron will be held hostage by the right and that his party will back tax cuts for the rich, I think those are already happening or have happened (just look at the proposed inheritance tax cut in the last manifesto).

    So I am talking about effective reality now, not three years hence. At present it is merely being cloaked by the reality of parliamentary arithmetic.


    ‘ The problem is, I don’t see the modern equivalents of Keynes or Hayek/Friedman laying down the intellectual framework for just what that new agenda should be.’

    What about the MMT-ers or Steve Keen? Debt jubilees and taking money creation away from private banks; full employment being the criteria determining the size of government deficits. These people provide a highly developed alternative intellectual framework, as well as a devastating critique of the neo-classical economic mythologies which have landed us in the present global banking crisis, teetering on the edge of another credit crunch.

  10. “During the Irish crisis a century ago, the most creative unionist offers came far too late in the day and under visible duress.”

    “By the time that a consensus was finally forged in Britain, Ireland had moved well down the road to independence.”

    Who doubts that will happen again? Too little too late and unsatisfactory half measures is standard UK government procedure.

  11. I hope I’m not treading on Statgeek’s toes, but I’ve put together some analysis of past general elections which might be of some interest. Here are a few points:

    Con+Lab as % of votes cast:
    1992 76%
    1997 74%
    2001 72%
    2005 68%
    2010 65% (this is the lowest since universal suffrage)

    Lab+Lib as % of votes cast: (most of the ‘left’)
    1992 52%
    1997 60%
    2001 59%
    2005 57%
    2010 52% (lowest since the war was 49% in 1951 and 1955 when Libs got less than 1m votes)

    1992 5.8%
    1997 9.3%
    2001 9.3%
    2005 10.3%
    2010 11.9% (the last 4 set successive records for the most since universal suffrage)

    It seems to me that there are some pretty clear trends here.
    1) There is a trend away from the two main parties.
    2) The main ‘left’ vote is currently in decline, though from historically quite high figures in 1997 and 2001.
    3) ‘Others’ is consistently climbing. On a straight-line extrapolation they will be nearly 14% in 2015.

    The two main parties are being cushioned to some extent by the FPTP system, but it is only a matter of time before they start to lose even more seats to ‘Others’, probably starting in Scotland, though it’s not just happening there (e.g. Caroline Lucas).

    Rather than just fighting over exactly where the ‘centre’ is, and trying to occupy that ground, as many posters on here seem to go along with, surely all 3 main parties should be asking themselves why they are collectively losing touch with more and more voters?

    Cameron seems to be getting it to some extent, with his stance on Europe seeming to reclaim some UKIP voters, but I’m not sure that the others do.

    If the main parties do not get their acts together and reconnect with the ‘Others’ and non-voters we could soon end up with coalitions nearly every time, because no single party will get enough seats for an outright majority.

    I’d value others’ opinions on this.

  12. Ann miles

    When halal is done properly its every bit as humane as our secular butchering in theory

    But knowing folk that work in a secular slauterhouse and hearing their stories. I would chose halal every time or kosher which is basically the same thing

    Plus it tastes better

  13. ROBERT C


    I think you are wrong.

  14. Colin @ COLLIN

    “you misquoted Alec.

    What he actually said was “Cameron doesn’t have any principles”.

    It is not a matter of perception-Alec KNOWS about these things .”

    Of course Alec is right. DC told you himself: “Heir to Blair”. What could be clearer than that?

  15. Pete B

    “The two main parties are being cushioned to some extent by the FPTP system, but it is only a matter of time before they start to lose even more seats to ‘Others’, probably starting in Scotland,. ..”

    The SNP are close to the FPT tipping point when they get the bonus. They need about a six point lead over Lab and the Libdems to do badly.

    As an other Other myself may I say its the ex-LibDems that went to Lab that are the key. If they think the SNP will do well in that constituency, and the challenger is Con, they may desert Lab in Glasgow. where Cons do reasonably well.

    Council electons may tell us how firm the Lab vote is.

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