The British Election Study have released their data from the election campaign waves today – one large wave straight after the election was called, a wave of daily rolling polls from throughout the campaign itself and a third large wave conducted straight after the campaign. All three of these datasets were collected online by YouGov (the face-to-face element of the BES is still to come). If you’re au fait with stats software like SPSS, Stata or R the raw data is available for download on the British Election Study site here.

There’s already some analysis of the data by the BES team here (a longer version of the article you may have seen on BBC this morning), focusing on how people changed their votes between 2015 and 2017, and between the beginning and end of the election campaign.

The article breaks down 2015 vote by Remainers and Leavers. Looking at how 2015 voters who backed Leave ended up voting in 2017, the Conservatives kept the vast majority of their 2015 leave voters and picked up over half of the 2015 UKIP vote (as well as a chunk of Labour Leavers). The collapse of UKIP wasn’t all to the Conservatives’ favour though, 18% of UKIP Leavers ended up moving to Labour.

Turning to the Remain vote, Labour were the clear victor: around a third of 2015 Tories who voted remain drifted away from the party, either to Labour or to the Lib Dems, but Labour also picked up a chunk of the 2015 Lib Dem vote and most of the 2015 Green vote. Of course, while this is easy to view through the prism of Brexit, that doesn’t necessarily mean Brexit was the main driver (to give an obvious example, yes – a large proportion of Green Remain voters moved to Labour… but a large proportion of the 2015 Green vote had already moved to Labour before the referendum, presumably as a result of the direction Jeremy Corbyn had taken the party).

More interesting is the movement during the campaign itself. 19% of people changed how they would vote between the start and the end of the campaign. This is not in itself unusual – in 2015 the figure was 17%, and according to the BES team it was higher in 2010 and 2005. The difference in 2017 is that this movement was overwhelmingly in favour of the Labour party, whereas at previous elections the churn largely cancelled itself out. Hence during the campaign we can see significant numbers of Tory votes, Lib Dem voters and, most of all, don’t knows moving towards Labour, but very little movement away from Labour.

In terms of explanations for the movement – while the voters Labour attracted during the campaign were those you’d expect to be the most receptive (that is, tending to be opposed to a hard-Brexit and left-leaning), the most obvious movement was on leadership ratings, that sharp collapse in Theresa May’s ratings and the steady increase in Jeremy Corbyn’s, and those people who moved to Labour during the campaign were also those who displayed the biggest increase in their perceptions of Jeremy Corbyn.

Ed and Chris’s full article is here.


372 Responses to “British Election Study release their campaign data”

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  1. @Sea Change

    …and I couldn’t really have predicted her bizarre self-immolation over motherhood.

  2. @Barny

    It seems clear at the moment that the Remain camp in the Tory Party are unlikely to challenge May because they know that the Leaver camp will coalesce around a Leaver who the Members are highly likely to endorse.
    The Leave camp seems content, for now, to keep May in place too. If she survives until Conference perhaps she will stay for the medium term.

  3. It does feel like the Tory strategy seems to be let May take all the flack over Brexit and let a fresh, untainted face come in towards the end of the parliament to invigorate the party and create the kind of momentum in public support that she had from July 2016 to April 2017.

    I’m not sure to what extent that kind of phenomenon would necessarily be repeated, though. Guess it depends on the underlying factors that led to the Tories polling so well during that period. I think Labour should be most afraid of a charismatic, inspiring, unknown face becoming leader. Most of the current tipped contenders are little better (many perhaps worse) than May herself, if the hypothetical polling tells us anything. But hypothetical polling is hypothetical – I remember in early 2016 (I think) they polled best PM between Corbyn and May, and Corbyn was ahead – mainly because people didn’t really know much about her.

  4. @Sea Change

    I didn’t contest whether the Labour campaign was principled or not just stuck to the issue of being dodgy over the debt.

    You claim Labour MPs etc. were “campaigning on the student debt issue”. Well of course, what is wrong with that. You make it seem that to campaign at all is dodgy.

    Reiterating the fact that 26% thought SOME debt would be cancelled just bolsters my case. Because it’s not in dispute.

    And the $100Bn figure is unsupported. You have yet to make a point that substantiates your case and seem keener to bolster mine. Which obviously one would not complain about, but you don’t seem to have quite got the hang of this.

  5. @Barny

    “Can we please stop going on about the tuition debt row? It’s a non-story, onto which people are projecting their own views,”

    ——–

    Well to be fair to Sea Change, they’re actually doing their bit to support the opposing view…

  6. @BARNY

    “After a decade under Cameron the membership were screaming out for someone less liberal.”

    ————

    As were the Labour Party, after more than a decade of the liberal, and peeps the the U.S. too, in both Democrat and Republican Parties. Democrat hierarchy managed to keep Hillary, but that just let in Trump, another counter to liberalism.

  7. Open letter from Lewis, Lammy and others about freedom of movement , reported in the Guardian:

    “Migrants are not to blame for falling wages, insecurity, bad housing and overstretched public services,” they said. “These are the product of decades of underinvestment, deregulation, privatisation, and the harshest anti-union laws in Europe. On the contrary, migrant workers have been on the frontline of fighting for better pay and working conditions. Labour is the party of all working people – regardless of where they were born.

    “A system of free movement is the best way to protect and advance the interests of all workers, by giving everyone the right to work legally, join a union and stand up to their boss without fear of deportation or destitution. Curtailing those rights, or limiting migrants’ access to public services and benefits, will make it easier for unscrupulous employers to hyper-exploit migrant labour, which in turn undermines the rights and conditions of all workers.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/aug/04/labour-jeremy-corbyn-free-movement-brexit-open-letter

    Clear blue water opening between labour and Tories ? Or electoral disaster?

  8. @JimJam

    “Others believe that the 17% would more likely be non-Labour voters or Labour voters for whom Tuition fees was not a major issue.”

    ———

    Well it’s not just some idle belief. It’s what one might expect in something approaching a normal distribution, that the tail of the bell-shaped curve might contain more of the polarised.

  9. Concerns of British Universities about retention of high quality staff from the EU (and elsewhere) are not just talk…

    https://www.leeds.ac.uk/forstaff/news/article/5746/interest-free_loan_scheme_for_international_colleagues

  10. @ Carfrew

    Absolutely; there’s been a significant public swing from liberalism to populism across the left/right spectrum.

  11. “Reiterating the fact that 26% thought SOME debt would be cancelled just bolsters my case. Because it’s not in dispute.”

    Now it seems that is just an “aspiration” however.. Like immigration in the “tens of thousands”… Or the Brexit money for the NHS… Jam tomorrow

  12. @Barny

    Lol, love the way you reframed that!!

    Obviously some populism involved, but it is also a rejection of liberal policies and their effects. Hence the polling on things like nationalisation, free movement/immigration etc.

  13. @AndrewIII

    “Now it seems that is just an “aspiration” however..”

    ———–

    Lol, Corbyn made clear it was an aspiration at the time. It’s not some new development, some twist. And he also gave an example of what that meant.

    You can make things seem as vague as you like if you keep ignoring the actual substance.

    polling shows most don’t think it vague though. Be handy if you can explain why?

  14. @Carfrew

    I see nationalisation and ending free movement as populist positions.

    But then again, as an anti-populist liberal, I would.

  15. @Barny

    You might see them that way, if you don’t want to think about how things like privatisation and free movement might have some ill effects people might reject beyond some superficial populism.

    New Thread any road…

  16. “Lol, Corbyn made clear it was an aspiration at the time. It’s not some new development, some twist. And he also gave an example of what that meant.

    You can make things seem as vague as you like if you keep ignoring the actual substance.

    polling shows most don’t think it vague though. Be handy if you can explain why?”

    Well, I am a bit confused Carfrew. I agree that Labour have been as vague as possible on this, but I thought the polling had revealed that 46% of people (and 59% of 18-24s), interpreted the statement as a promise to pay back some or all debt. While only 21 % interpreted it (more or less correctly, perhaps even optimistically) as a promise to provide “sympathy and some extra, undefined help”

    Just to help you with a ready source of how “deal with it” has evolved into “aspiration”, “real aspiration” (LOL) and “we had no idea how MUCH it was”, see the link below..

    https://inews.co.uk/essentials/news/politics/jeremy-corbyn-labour-said-student-debt/

  17. new thread

  18. Paul Croft,
    “What’s that? Saying “BREXIT IS BREXIT” again – but a bit louder?”

    nice.

    Sea Change,
    “You are right on both counts. Foreign treaties are the preserve of the sovereign and the only way Parliament could intercede is by bringing down the Government”

    No. The government no longer has the power to dissolve parliament without the consent of parliament. Parliament can refuse to be dissolved. If the government chooses to resign, parliament could install another. The appeal court confirmed that parliament and sovereign acting together override all prerrogative powers, and contrariwise, prerrogative powers cannot apply to negate any act of parliament. Foreign treaties are not binding unless given effect by an an act of parliament.

    If parliament wants to stop brexit it can pass a bill instructing the commons doorman to serve notice on the EU to that effect. It could pass a simple bill declaring that the UK foreign minister, Brexit minister or anyone at all has no power to act on behalf of the UK in dealings with the EU. Parliament and crown remain sovereign, government ministers are simply royal household servants and should do as they are told!

  19. @Andrew

    “but I thought the polling had revealed that 46% of people (and 59% of 18-24s), interpreted the statement as a promise to pay back some or all debt. While only 21 % interpreted it (more or less correctly, perhaps even optimistically) as a promise to provide “sympathy and some extra, undefined help”

    ——–

    Yes, you state this as if it’s of some significance but all it does is show you lumping in those who think he will pay back SOME of the debt with those who think he’ll pay back ALL of the debt. Which doesn’t help you at all.

    Similarly, there’s nothing in the article you cite either that adds anything. If there was you would have quoted it.

  20. @AndrewIII

    Also, Dunno why you’re putting “aspiration” in quotes as if it is cited in the article, because it isn’t.

    In any event, it’s clear that from the outset it was an aspiration and remains so. “Deal with it”, is an aspiration. It didn’t “evolve”. Nothing has changed. You’re just resorting to quibbling really.

  21. @Danny – The Government is the crown by proxy. They are the appointed servants of the Queen in Parliament. The point is that unless there is a PM who is prepared to issue a request to remain in the EU and the ECJ rules that such a move is legal (and not a new application under Article 49) it can’t happen. Further the only way a PM can be unseated is through resignation due to a loss in confidence viote or personal preference to resign or sacking by the monarch. Parliament passes laws – it does not negotiate treaties – it puts them into effect through law.

    @Andrew111 – agree with you. Corbyn. “And I don’t see why those that had the historical misfortune to be at university during the £9,000 period should be burdened excessively compared to those that went before or those that come after. I will deal with it.”
    This is why 46% felt the debt would be partially or totally written off. Also when Labour discovered the likely horrific cost they rowed back after the election.

  22. Sea Change,
    “The Government is the crown by proxy. They are the appointed servants of the Queen in Parliament. The point is that unless there is a PM who is prepared to issue a request to remain in the EU and the ECJ rules that such a move is legal (and not a new application under Article 49) it can’t happen. ”

    This is becoming repetitious but stale. The UK has no written constitution, but the rule such as it is, is that if parliament and crown both pass a new law, that law has absolute power to override anything which came before. Anything whatever. It is perfectly possible for parliament and crown to act together to create a new position which has absolute power to conduct all dealings with the EU.

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