Churn and gender gaps

Two things worth looking at elsewhere. The first is an article by Peter Kellner on churn. This is something I’ve been meaning to write about for sometime but never got round to, but Peter has now done the hardwork himself! I often see people taking about the next election from the starting assumption that Labour were at their low and so start from at least 30%, and that anyone who was going to vote Tory already did so they can’t get above 37%. Neither of these is true – not least, because current polls show the Conservatives already winning the support of some voters they didn’t have last time, and the Labour party already losing the support of some people who did vote for them last time. That’s not to underplay how difficult it would be for the Conservatives to increase their vote share, or that the partial demise of the Lib Dems has provided Labour with a good boost in support, just that it’s really not as simplistic as assuming Labour cannot lose any votes from last time, or that the Conservatives cannot gain votes… both are already happening to a great degree, it’s just when we look at the headline figures we only see the net effects of Labour up and Conservative down. In both cases there is actually plenty of movement in both directions.

The second, with no modesty whatsoever, is something I have written over on the YouGov website using the same aggregate YouGov data, in this case looking at the Conservative gender gap or, perhaps, its absence. This is something that will not go away, every couple of months a journalist pops up writing a column about how the Conservatives are doing worse amongst women, normally illustrated by ripping one single poll out of context that appears to show a gender gap. Looking at the wider polls, it doesn’t actually seem to exist. The aggregated monthly YouGov data in recent months has had the Conservatives on a solid 33% amongst men, and an equally solid 33% amongst women. No difference. The gap amongst women is bigger, but that appears to be because Labour do better amongst women and UKIP do worse.

At first site all the fuss about the Tory women problem is complete nonsense, but dig a little deeper and the Conservatives do appear to have a problem with some women. Specifically the Conservatives do worse amongst women than men amongst under 40s (and Labour the other way round). The reason the Tories don’t do any worse with women overall is that as you move up the age ranges the pattern reverses, so that amongst over 60s the Conservatives do better amongst women than amongst men. I’m guessing the latter is because of UKIP (who seem to appeal to men more than women, and whose support is heavily skewed towards older people), while the former is presumably because the Tories do have some sort of problem appealing to younger women (or… logically equally likely… Labour have some sort of problem appealing to younger men).

574 Responses to “Churn and gender gaps”

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  1. Just for the record, I was being flippant with the war remark!

  2. Presumably Scotland could follow Rhodesia’s example and declare its independence unilaterally then see if anyone will recognise it. Might be a while before it got a seat at the UN, though.


    Colin is being rude about you again:

    “I think he does sleep. But he receives vibes from the Board…..then the coffin lid creaks open & he rises…..”

    He is comparing you to Dracula.

    Not that I like to snitch.
    [ But while I am at it, John B has been writing about SCOTLAND again.]

  4. Anthony

    Sir! Sir!

    R&D mentioned Macbeth’s country, and some Yuch remains on your palace floor from around 8.12 pm last nght!

    Did you hire an illegal immigrant as a cleaner? Only true Brits deserve such work – as G Brown Esq pointed out.

  5. YouGov/Sun poll tonight – Labour lead now six points: CON 33%, LAB 39%, LD 9%, UKIP 12%

  6. For those interested in Alba matters, I’ve posted a link at the end of the last Servant’s Hall thread.

  7. Polldrums.

  8. Statgeek

    If Amber didn’t copyright that term – she should have! :-)

  9. ” For those interested in Alba matters, I’ve posted a link at the end of the last Servant’s Hall thread”

    Not while ole Stalin – I mean Anthony – might be watching ta.

  10. @Oldnat


  11. Charles,
    Thank you.How kind.I hope to speak as it were.with you in the future.I trust
    That things are well with you now.

  12. R&D

    Anthony, quite properly in the palace, operates an Upstairs/Downstairs policy.

    I’m sure he is wholly unconcerned as the discussions that take place in Servant’s Hall.

    His butler will ensure that no unseemly language is used.

  13. I can almost grasp this servant thing, the Macbeth reference, and have, after long thought, managed to get my head round the Dracula analogy.

    But what’s with this polling stuff?

  14. Statgeek

    Sorry! I thought this was a prole-ing site.

  15. A very interesting article from a lady writing in the Guardian about having been
    A victim of floods n 2012.Apparently it took her 15 months to get her home
    Sorted out with very little support once the media circus had passed on.Worth a read perhaps.

  16. “I can almost grasp this servant thing, the Macbeth reference, and have, after long thought, managed to get my head round the Dracula analogy.

    But what’s with this polling stuff? ”

    Don’t ask me Statty.


    If there was an Olympic medal for looking pleased with yourself THROUGHOUT an entire interview I know who I’d be betting on by the way.

  17. Winchester’s flood defence plan being orchestrated by a Pakistani. Thinking out of the box.

  18. “(No one has ever suggested undead voters or a total absence of churn, just that inflows = outflows to produce a reliable 29%.)”

    I was trying to make the same point, albeit in a rather ham-fisted way, when I first read Anthony’s commentary at the head of this now gargantuan thread


    The undead voter thing, that’s getting the wrong end of the stick a bit. The argument was, that when people thought Labour were unlikely to go below 29%, they weren’t taking churn into account.

    Because they thought it was a solid block that wouldn’t change.

    I pointed out this was unlikely, unless one expected people to think folk didn’t die. Which is a bit of a stretch.

    In other words, sure, no one actually put forward the existence of voting beyond the grave, that’s true. The point is that the argument put forward – that people weren’t taking churn into account, and thought there was a solid block – IMPLIED people might believe in zombies voting. Which is a bit absurd.

    So sure, no one argued for the zombie thing, it’s just their argument implied it.

    (Or that they might not emigrate, or indeed change allegiance for local factors etc….)

  19. I can’t see what’s wrong with posthumous voting.

    I bet there is no specific law against it.

  20. Chat from the by election – suggestions that turnout is low, Lab expect 50% and UKIP say they are second with 25%, Lib Dems fear lost deposit.

    Off to bed.

  21. @PUPS

    ‘I can’t see what’s wrong with posthumous voting’

    Might give the Cons a boost.

  22. “‘I can’t see what’s wrong with posthumous voting’

    “Might give the Cons a boost.”

    Yeah, bit of a downside to everything.

    Sad about the Lib Dem lost deposit. Can’t they try to remember where they had it last?

    That’s what my wife makes me do with keys, wallets, pups etc.

  23. @ RAF

    “Winchester’s flood defence plan being orchestrated by a Pakistani. Thinking out of the box.”

    I thought he was a Hungarian. In Hungary there is an 8 meters high flood defence on River Tisza. Sounds good except that around 40% of the floods are about 9 metres.

    The flood story will affect VI, but it also shows the Afghanistan effect (the further it is, the less newsworthy it is). I understand that Bangladeshi floods go off the news in a few hours – little consequence to the insurance industry after all. Europe is closer, so the drowning Prague elephants would be on the news for two days. A highly predictable and compared to previous years’ flood not particularly damaging one in England cannot go off the screen (I understand the hardship of the affected families, but it really doesn’t compare for flooding over a village to save the town downstream – the head of the council of the village after evacuating the village (as the village would be wiped out), committed suicide.).

    Unless there’s a miracle, Conservatives will take a hit (if nothing else in the DKs).

  24. Laszlo

    So let me get this right: are you advising that flood defences should always be set higher than the floodwater?

    How does that work?

  25. aah…… its ok. I’ve just done a drawing and I get it.

    That’s really clever isn’t it?

  26. @ Rosieanddaisie

    Yes, unless you want to give a high winning chance to the flood, in which case I would advise the government to go to the bookmakers to make a bet in favour of the flood and use the winning stake to pay for the aid for the affected families.

  27. The Monster Raving Loonies in Wythenshawe are wearing yellow rosettes.

    Has there been a merger to save deposits?

    I think we should be told.

  28. @Ann in Wales

    I have to confess that being Phil Not In Wales But With Holiday Cottage On Mid Welsh Coast I’m a very relieved chap tonight. The neighbour has phoned to say that the place survived by and large intact, bar a missing tile or two. A lot of caravan owners from the West Midlands may not be so lucky.

    If there’s one thing worse than being there when a near-hurricane hits it’s being 100 miles away and worrying about whether or not the roof’s intact. Seeing pictures of what remained of Porthmadog station this morning just 20 miles up the (closed for a month) rail line didn’t help.

  29. Phil

    Why don’t you run an ad here while you’re at it?

  30. @Carfrew
    You asked a page or two ago “is there anything in the past that is even close to what is happening now?” so at the risk of sounding like a monomaniac I’ll suggest ’74-’79 again. Of course this was officially a second term government so not comparable to the present, but Labour’s first term was only 6 months, much of it recess, and October ’74 wasn’t much of an election campaign (the Tories didn’t want to fight it under Heath, and much of the Labour party felt the same about Wilson). So the period felt like one term.

    The microscopic and quickly disappearing Labour majority and the LibLab pact weren’t anything like the Coalition, but they bred the same sort of frustrations among government and opposition supporters and disenchantment among voters that the Coalition is breeding. Wilson and Callaghan were both better liked than their party as Cameron is now. And noone could believe the opposition’s choice of leader – or be much bothered about what she had to say.

    And compare a graph of the polls from ’74-78 to the same ’10-14. There seems to me to be an odd coincidence of shape between them (if you ignore the amplitude of the variations) – the opposition has a mid-term peak, then declines to bumping along just ahead of the goverment.

    All of this predicts nothing, of course, but I don’t think there is another period more like now than then.

  31. @R&D

    We only let it out to friends and work colleagues.

    So what dates are you interested in?

  32. Phil,
    I agree with you in reverse.My mother has recently moved into a nursing home
    In Solihull and her house is currently empty.So I have been worrying about
    That without being able to do much about it.The west coast of Wales took a
    Terrible battering yesterday,it must be very frightening to be in a mobile home
    On the coast.I believe the roof blew off Porthmadog station .Terrifying.Glad your place is okay.

  33. Beeb24 reporter (at the count) says it looks like a clear win for Lab but second place is likely to be close race between UKIP & Con. He seemed to be hinting that UKIP were not doing as well as some had expected. Result likely around 1.30am.

  34. @Postage

    Yes, one can see some similarities. Key differences include:

    – Libs are in coalition with Tories and have alienated a big chunk of voters. Did Libs lose a lot of support for supporting Labour?)
    – UKip
    – towards the end of the term, another oil price hike, scuppering recovery (rlthough something bad could still happen this time)
    – plus union action
    – Tories didn’t get as hammered in the election, didn’t have as far to come back

  35. “Yes, unless you want to give a high winning chance to the flood, in which case I would advise the government to go to the bookmakers to make a bet in favour of the flood and use the winning stake to pay for the aid for the affected families.”

    Are these hydrology experts and whatnot allowed to bet on the floods?…

  36. Lib Dems got 4.99% and have called a recount. I think I might go and throw eggs at Nick Clegg’s house tomorrow for keeping me up all bloody night.

  37. @ Mr Nameless

    Especially if they have 4.98% after the recount.

  38. Watching ABC News on the BBC. I think Diane Sawyer’s going to interrupt things any minute with the Wythenshawe byelection results.

  39. Aarrgghh! ABC News ended too soon. Diane’s fuming!

  40. Some comfort for the Tories: Tory gain Kingstanding Ward in Birmingham from Labour.

  41. For a moment there, before respectacling myself, I thought the Iron Throne had gone blue.

  42. From @LucyMPowell

    Result: Lab 13,261 UKIP 4301 that’s 55% of vote, swing of 11%. UKIP on 17.8% of vote

    Mike Kane – Labour new MP for Wythenshawe and Sale

  43. Wythenshawe and Sale East Result:


    LAB – 55.5% (+11.1)
    UKIP – 18.0% (+14.5)
    CON – 14.3% (-11.5)
    LDem – 4.9% (-17.6)
    GRN – 3.1% (+3.1)
    OTH – 4.2%

    Very solid for Labour, not as good for UKIP as predicted, not as bad for Tories (I suspect some muddled switching hindered them both), absolutely awful for the Liberal Democrats and not too shabby for the Greens.

  44. Results
    Lab 13268
    UKIP 4301
    Con 3479
    LD 1176

    Libs have 4.89%

  45. From [email protected]
    Lib Dems have now lost eight deposits since May 2010. Just 468 votes ahead of BNP.

  46. @MR N

    “not too shabby for the Greens”

    But the BNP were only 40 votes behind them (748 v 708)

  47. Well they didn’t stand in 2010 – to beat the BNP from a standing start is doing alright if they want to build a presence.

    Anyway, to use David Mellor’s phrasing, that was a derisory showing from the Lib Dems, including the depressing farce of them getting 4.99% only to recount and actually lose votes.

  48. Eggs at the ready?

  49. Well he’s a cabinet member now, I’ll probably get hauled off under anti-terror legislation.

    I’ll just don a yellow rosette and egg his constituents instead.

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