Today the British Election Study published its face-to-face data for the 2017 election. The BES has two main elements: one is a large online panel element, using the same respondents in multiple waves so that they can track change at an individual level. The other part is a smaller face-to-face element, using a genuine random sample to try and get the best sample possible. The face-to-face element is also cross-referenced with the marked electoral register (that is, the copy of the register in polling stations where people’s names are crossed off as they vote) so that they can verify after the election whether people genuinely did or did not vote.

This means the face-to-face data is by far the best data we have on actual turnout levels and on turnout levels among different demographic groups. When discussing turnout I’m often asked about the official figures for turnout among men and women, young and old, and have to explain that these figures do not exist. While there are official figures of the numbers of votes cast in each constituency and the number of people on the electoral register (a different figure, note, to the number of people who are actually eligible to vote, where there is an absence of official data), there are no actual figures for turnout among demographic sub-groups of the population. We know how many people voted, but not details of their age, gender, class or other demographics.

Up until now there has been a widespread narrative that in 2018 Labour managed to engage young people who do not normally vote and substantially increase youth turnout at the general election (referred to by the rather irriating neologism “youthquake”). This was never based on particularly strong evidence. The narrative had begun to take hold during the campaign itself because of the difference between polls (a simple explanation of the polls during the 2017 campaign was that companies showing a large Tory lead were doing so because they weighting down younger respondents based on their past unlikelihood to vote and companies showing smaller Tory leads were basing turnout more on self-reporting and, therefore, often showing higher youth turnout). A common and not unreasonable assumption before the general election was, therefore, that if youth turnout did increase those polls showing a smaller Tory lead would be right, if youth turnout stayed low the Tories would win comfortably. Another common discussion during the campaign were the enthusiastic crowds of young people that were attracted to Jeremy Corbyn’s events. People sensibly cautioned that what mattered was whether those crowds actually suggested normally uninterested young people would vote, or just represented the more politically engaged young people.

By election day, there was a narrative that if all those enthusiastic young people actually came out to vote Labour would do well, and if it was just a mirage the Tories would win. Therefore when the Conservatives did do less well than most people expected the most easily available explanation to reach for was that young people had indeed been enthused to go out and vote Labour. In the immediate aftermath of the election an implausible claim that youth turnout was 72% was widely reported, without any apparent source. Shortly after that polling evidence from various companies emerged that did support a higher level of youth turnout. Given that the problem with polling accuracy in 2015 was that poll samples had too many of the sort of people who vote, particularly among young people, this evidence was rather dicey. It could have been that youth turnout had risen… or it could have been that polls still contained too many of the sort of young people who vote. The final bit of evidence was that seats that contained a larger proportion of young people did see their turnout rise more at the election… though as Chris Prosser and the rest of the BES team ably explain in their paper, this is not necessarily the strong evidence you might think: seats with more young people tend to be urban and more diverse, so it’s equally possible that urban areas in general saw a larger increase in turnout.

In fact the BES data released today – using a random sample and checked against the electoral register – does not find evidence of any increase in turnout among under 25s, thought does find some evidence of an increase in turnout among those between 25 and 44. The boost in youth turnout that people have been using to explain the 2017 election may not actually exist at all (or if it does, it was among relatively young voters, rather than the youngest voters). That’s not to say that young voters were not still important in explaining the election result – age was still an important divide on how people voted, young people did still heavily vote for Labour so it is still fair to say Labour managed to enthuse young people more, it’s just that the level of turnout among under 25s does not appear to have risen; Labour just took a greater share of support among younger voters.

This does raise some other questions about the polls at the 2017 election. Until now the most obvious explanation for why some polls got the figures very wrong and others got them right is that, by basing turnout patterns on what happened in 2015 some polls missed out on a genuine surge in youth turnout, therefore understating Labour support, and that polls showing higher youth turnout were closer to the actual result. However, if youth turnout didn’t actually rise then this explanation seems far less convincing. My own view is that the way turnout models were done was probably still a major factor in the error, but it may be more a case of how they were done rather than the principle (besides, there were some approaches, like the YouGov MRP model, that used demographics in their turnout modelling and did well). More on that issue another time.

In the meantime, there’s a summary of the BES findings on youth turnout here and their full paper is here.


562 Responses to “Some thoughts on the BES turnout data and the absent “youthquake””

1 2 3 12
  1. First time I have declared first. I think.

  2. TO

    Did you have a low turnout, so that you could count your vote quickly?

  3. So no surge in the youth vote after all. I suspect many who voted Labour in the 25/44 bracket also voted Remain. The task for Labour is to energise the under 25’s. If they can manage that the next General Election is within their reach.

  4. Youth turnout may not have risen, but if for example polls down-weighted the youth on the assumption they were less likely to vote, and youth confounded this, then that is one way polls would be in error on youth turnout without youth turnout actually rising.

  5. oldnat: TO – Did you have a low turnout, so that you could count your vote quickly?

    Round here, I have one man one vote. As I am that man, it did not take long to count on a 100% turnout.

  6. TO

    OMOV is a very efficient methodology!

    I was too busy looking at the DeXEU strategy of OCMPDP (One Cabinet Member Per Data Presentation) on their impact assessment of any form of Brexit (also known as the “Oh F**k” data).

    I’m presuming that the presentation methodology was chosen because NHS England had contracted its ERTOBSHA (Emergency Response To Brexiteers Suffering Heart Attacks) to Branson – but the ambulance train was delayed by the wrong kind of Leavers on the line.

    I referenced it at the end of the previous thread p

    Buzzfeed News have seen a UK Government report called “EU Exit Analysis – Cross Whitehall Briefing” from DeXEU and dated January 2018, which suggests each of most plausible outcomes of Brexit will be economically damaging to the UK and all of is regions.

    https://www.buzzfeed.com/albertonardelli/the-governments-own-brexit-analysis-says-the-uk-will-be?utm_term=.gfQrB4XYm#.exD5oxw1d

  7. Very interesting findings.

    In a sense, better for Labour that the “Youthquake” theory, as very young adults are notoriously fickle. Better to convince the people who are engaged with politics to agree with your politics, than to enthuse people who are unengaged with politics to “give it a try”.

    I don’t mean that in moral terms, of course. Getting non-voters to vote is very good news for democracy, whoever manages it. But in electoral strategy terms.

  8. Neil A

    “very young adults are notoriously fickle”

    I wouldn’t be astonished if that were the case – but is there actual evidence to support that assertion?

  9. Muscatelli has just commented that “Interestingly this Whitehall analysis … is entirely consistent with the macroeconomic analysis presented in Scotland’s Place in Europe ”

    It’s good to see agreement between Holyrood and Whitehall.

  10. Interesting indeed Oldnat. Well spotted.

  11. Its interesting that the scenario that causes the least economic damage – staying in SM and CU – also is the only one that satisfies the requirements agreed in December regarding the situation of Northern Ireland and the border. So I think this solution has a lot going for it economically and in terms of keeping borders as frictionless as possible.

  12. Prof Howard

    I’m interested as to how the DUP might respond to this Whitehall analysis of the varying effects of different versions of Brexit.

    While, in every polity, there are lots of tribal voters who won’t alter their votes whatever happens, is there a section of the DUP vote that is more concerned with economic consequences?

    Might these folk shift their votes to Alliance/Green/UUP and deny the DUP their marginal vote share advantage over SF?

  13. oldnat: Buzzfeed News have seen a UK Government report called “EU Exit Analysis – Cross Whitehall Briefing” from DeXEU and dated January 2018, which suggests each of most plausible outcomes of Brexit will be economically damaging to the UK and all of is regions.

    It is almost as if they planned to leak it and the high security around ministers seeing it is mostly to protect the ministers from being blamed for the leaks.

  14. TO

    “It is almost as if they planned to leak it and the high security around ministers seeing it is mostly to protect the ministers from being blamed for the leaks.”

    An interesting, and quite believable theory. The idea of protecting the Cabinet members from accusations of leaking, hadn’t occurred to me.

    Indeed, if we are to follow the Lord Ffoulkes theory of news stories (at least anti-SNP ones) – if he finds it believable, it must be true! :-)

    The increasingly shrill whining of the more rabid British Nationalists, like re-Smog, become more understandable, as they presumably realise what is going on within the engines of governance.

  15. @Profhoward “Its interesting that the scenario that causes the least economic damage – staying in SM and CU”

    Why is this even news?

    In Cameroon’s resignation speech he specifically pointed out the sheer weight of economic forecasts (dubbed “Project Fear”) that said we’d be worse off outside yet the people chose that path.

    That this BRINO idea is compatible with the Referendum is for the birds.

    “The country has just taken part in a giant democratic exercise — perhaps the biggest in our history. Over 33 million people — from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar — have all had their say.

    We should be proud of the fact that in these islands we trust the people with these big decisions.

    We not only have a parliamentary democracy, but on questions about the arrangements for how we are governed, there are times when it is right to ask the people themselves, and that is what we have done.

    The British people have voted to leave the European Union, and their will must be respected.

    I want to thank everyone who took part in the campaign on my side of the argument, including all those who put aside party differences to speak in what they believed was the national interest.

    And let me congratulate all those who took part in the “Leave” campaign — for the spirited and passionate case that they made.

    The will of the British people is an instruction that must be delivered. It was not a decision that was taken lightly, not least because so many things were said by so many different organizations about the significance of this decision.”

  16. Sea Change

    That’s a brilliant demonstration of the “increasingly shrill whining of the more rabid British Nationalists” that I referenced earlier.

    I’m grateful to you for providing such strong confirmation of that.

    I really like the shouty bit at the end of your post!

  17. Oldnat
    I am sure that many pragmatic DUP voters will hold the party responsible for adverse economic effects of Brexit, should they feel them.

  18. Prof Howard

    “I am sure that many pragmatic DUP voters will hold the party responsible for adverse economic effects of Brexit, should they feel them.”

    A very measured response, but not very illuminating!

    I should probably have phrased my question better – do you think that the DUP leadership can (or will) consider the effect on its pragmatic voters, based on the economic analyses, and be prepared to adjust its support for the Tories on that basis?

    After all, they don’t need to indulge in any public recantation – just privately point out to the Tories that if they insist on a Brexit that damages NI then they would no longer have a majority in HoC.

  19. One thing to consider is that the (possible) lack of a surge in youth turnout is not inconsistent with the idea that Labour managed to engage young people, since they may have succeeded in capturing a much larger share of that vote.

    Interesting that the evidence points to a surge among 25-44 year olds. I am in the lower end of that bracket (under 30) but would still consider myself young, as would most of my friends the same age. I think this is because the traditional rites of passage (home ownership, etc.) seem so impossibly out of reach.

    Anecdote alert: Labour seem to be doing very well among people my age. I remember watching the TV debates with uni friends back in 2010, when I voted in my first GE. Several of us to voted Conservative, while most others fell victim to ‘Cleggmania’. Got together a few months ago with the same lot, and talk turned to politics. Turns out we are all now to a man (or woman) staunch Labourites, and three of us (myself included) are card-carrying members.

  20. Technicolouroctober,
    I can see why the government would want to leak it, because it is quite mild when you examine it. Only 8% lost GDP cumulatively in 15 years, if I understand it right. I notice the leak lathers itself in disclaimers that it is only an estimate, and I would take this to suggest they think the real number might be much higher. One must assume it is a minimum figure, if the government prepared it so as to leak it.

    Estimates people have posted seem not to allow for flight of industry from the Uk, only for poorer trading terms. In this case we cant tell what it omits, because its a leak! So helpfull if one wanted to get ones own version out there.

    Sea Change,
    “In Cameroon’s resignation speech he specifically pointed out the sheer weight of economic forecasts (dubbed “Project Fear”) that said we’d be worse off outside yet the people chose that path.”

    Polling clearly showed that leave voters did not believe these forecasts (about 80% did not, I think). If even the current Brexit government says they are true, then maybe voters will also believe they are true. People who believed the Cameron estimates voted remain.

  21. @seachange

    IIRC the Leave campaigns ridiculed the economic forecasts of the Remain campaign as Project Fear. I take it from your comment you are now saying that the UK will be economically worse off and that the economic cost is worth paying.

  22. Stadius – good to hear; you and your 2 friends are the future.

    I hope you stick with membership even when the national party platform and leadership diverges from your views which will most likely happen at some point.

    I would say the same to any young person whichever party. (well most parties).

    My positive spin is that this is better for Labour in that an under 25 surge could be seen as idealistic youngsters naïve enough to buy in to Labour promises and/or bribed by the stance on future tuition fees.

    25-44 year olds have a grater degree of political maturity and influences on them beyond the HE bubble as most will be working; their support I would suggest if more sustainable and less likely to switch than under 25s.

  23. Cant see May getting beyond the local elections without a confidence vote. Given how the polls are and labours ability to mobilise support in a low turnout contest, its pretty odds on that the toires are in for a poor set of results – at that point the number of letters from tory mps demanding a confidence vote in May will surely get to the magic 48 figure (apparently its close to that all ready – so she might not even last that long).
    If there is a confidence vote the tories will be faced with a dilema – push her out or give her antoher year (the rules demand she cant face anther vote for 12 months).

    I think they will oust her – there has been a notable lack of supportive voices over the past few days and they will sieze the opportunity.

    So – new tory leader come July – almost certainly a brexiter. Then fun will really start as the remain orientated tories lose their proverbial brown stuff and the anti-brexit forces in business, finance and the civil service have a fit of the vapours at the prospect of a hard(er) brexit – rather than the BINO they are busily engineering.

    General Election in the Autumn?

  24. @Sea Change – “Why is this even news?”

    You mean you don’t know?

    Just as the ‘youthquake’ idea was something of a myth, we’re now in the business of exposing Brexit myths. There is no ‘good’ Brexit – only a scale of less bad Brexits, and May and the government know this. There is a reason why everyone and their dog in and around the western european orbit wants to be in the EU in some form or other. Only hard Brexiters think that they know best.

    The only point of contention here is that the leak doesn’t cover May’s ‘deep and special’ bespoke deal option. Roughly translated, this option can be viewed as the myth that says the EU will agree to a deal that is just as good as membership. It’s not going to happen. We’ve been told that consistently, not just by the EU, but by all our other global trading partners, who will ensure the UK as a third party doesn’t get overly preferential treatment from the EU.

    I think it’s helpful for everyone to know what the government is actually thinking, rather than have to rely on what they say in public. After all – they are politicians.

  25. And the thread poll…

    I posted a comment on this in the last thread, but in summary I seem to recall the results were labour gained in age groups below 75, while tories gained in age groups above 55. (both parties gained votes, of course, but labour gained more)

    The posted graphs were quite pretty, though hedged by error margins which for much of the data potentially allowed for reversing the results. However, lets not worry about that too much, or we would never post most of what we do.

    Assuming a real trend in there, I also noticed the data showed a maximum of support for tories around age 75-80. This had moved to an older age when comparing the 2015 and 2017 results, at least suggesting it might be a real effect. A cohort of the population around this age exhibits maximum tory suport. less before and after, approximately corresponding to being born around WW2.

    I dont know if there are past data sets which confirm or deny this observation, but as it stands it would seem to be evidence that tories can expect support to fall, as the WW2 births die off. This argues it is largely coincidence that pensioners like tories, just because this group are now of penionable age.

    It would be an irony that con spent decades trying to please pensioners and believed they had, when in fact it just happened that this groups was more pro tory because of the circumstances around their birth.

  26. Oh,
    it occurs that had the tory party come to this same conclusion about pensioner support, it might explain why they were not quite so concerned about a 2017 manifesto which hit pensioner pockets.

  27. @ DANNY

    I find the more interesting thing about the Tory support is that they didn’t lose anything from younger age cohorts. In that regard, while their reliance on a narrower base of voters should worry them, they haven’t been losing ground among the rest of their voter base. I don’t know if this might explain some of the polldrums, that Tory supporters will remain Tory supporters in the face of a stridently left-wing Labour party. It should at least concentrate minds in the party that they need to have a serious offer for people below retirement age.

    Another thought – if the youthquake is a bit of a myth then what does that mean for polling? Are the adjustments that pollsters made following the election invalidated by these results, and might we be heading for another screw up for the polling industry? Their weighting might be taking too much account of younger voters and missing the increase in support for Labour from more middle aged voters.

  28. @Danny

    We have recently covered this ground – differential mortality rates of different VI segments – in respect of Leave/Remain voters.

    The image that comes to mind is of a large bulge passing down the length of a python, and now approaching the python’s rear end.

    For any vote-dependent grouping to rely predominantly on the votes of the demographic segment with by far the highest short-term mortality rates is clearly highly precarious. Hence the importance of the debate over whether what we are seeing is a discrete Tory- and Leave-inclined cohort of elderly people (perhaps strongly influenced by growing up in the decade or two post-WW2) that will inevitably diminish rapidly with time, or whether there is some mechanism that produces replacements as people hit 75 or so.

    I’ve expressed all that in as neutral terms as possible, because it’s understandably a sensitive issue for many, but it would nevertheless seem right now to be a very important consideration in polling analysis.

  29. Britain needs to decide. Should the acronym for “Brexit in name only” be BRINO or BINO.

    Personal opinion. BINO is already taken – it’s the supersymmetric partner of one of the Gauge Bosons in the standard model of particle physics. (If you’re keeping up, you’ll know that there is no proof that this actually exists yet.)

    So I prefer BRINO – the supersymmetric equivalent of Brexit, which similarly has not yet been shown to be a real possibility.

  30. Garj,

    The number of people voting this time round went up. The tories didnt lose youth vote, but nor did they gain (youth being sub55?).

    It total vote had not risen, then it seems likely their ‘youth’ vote would indeed have fallen.

    It was already clear from age specific polling during the recent campaign that labour was doing well with what might better be called the middle aged, though still youthfull compared to peak tory supporters.

    The model I am suggesting is of overlapping forces pushing voters in certain directions. As people age, they almost certainly move into personal circumstances where personal interest might more incline to tory policies. The extent to which this is true, presumably leads to a tug of war between the parties from election to election.

    But also I am arguing that people form a mindset throughout their life and particularly in youth, which carries through to death. So there could well be a cohort of innately tory voters, and one which is now in decline. I’m interested whether others feel there is evidence we are just passing, or have already passed, ‘peak tory’.

  31. Triguy

    I am for BINO. It has that comic touch about it.

  32. “the supersymmetric equivalent of Brexit, which similarly has not yet been shown to be a real possibility.”

    It’s basically what the swiss have isn’t it? I suspect this is what the ‘deep and special partnership’ May will end up with is, a series of bilateral treaties with the EU that amount to we get a say, as long as that say is yes. An illusion.

  33. I found the mainstream media were behaving in a very condescending way when they claimed that inexperienced young people were behind Corbyn’s surge in support. To me, it’s obvious that the support for Corbyn came from a number of age groups.

    Simply, lots of people are suffering from seven years of Tory rule, and a lot of voters have had enough. Hence, this is the telling statistic:

    2015 GE Ed Miliband 29%
    2017 GE Jeremy Corbyn 40%

    Hence why the Tories are running a mile and a half from any suggestion of another GE….

  34. @ S Thomas

    “I am for BINO. It has that comic touch about it.”

    Ha ha. But I bet newcasters will insist on a less comic pronunciation.

  35. @Garj

    Only going anecdotally here, but having watched the process whereby High Peak went from relatively safe Tory seat to a Labour gain that currently looks unlikely to change hands again, it was driven by educated, mid-career professionals, particularly women, not by young voters.

    I think the Tories in general and Leavers in particular have badly underestimated how badly their contemptuous rhetoric about people who have worked hard to become well educated has gone down with that group.

    It is also abundantly clear that whilst a section of the party – those with kids – realised quite what a vote-loser their education policies were, the shouty older white man vote that dominates what passes for the party conversation is blithely oblivious.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Andrew Bingham, at least, lost his seat partly because of Brexit but mostly because of cuts to primary school funding, and if he was the only Tory to tank because the party doesn’t take parents seriously, then I would be extremely surprised.

  36. @ REGGIESIDE

    So – new tory leader come July – almost certainly a brexiter.

    General Election in the Autumn?

    —————————————————————————————

    Highly unlikely IMHO….

    Even if there’s a new leader in the summer, the Tories were burnt by last year’s GE. They know that another GE will mean the Tories losing more seats. The new leader will hang on as long as possible without holding a GE.

  37. @Oldnat

    lol. I love it when a CyberNat accuses someone else of Nationalism. Makes my day! For your edification shouting is ALLCAPS and bolding is to draw attention to the salient point. Nice to see you ignore the subject completely and play the man and not the ball.

    @Hireton @Alec

    I have always said that the UK would be worse off in the short to medium term. Anyone who suggests such a monumental change to our circumstances will be cost-free is living in a fantasy land.

    My point is this has been repeated ad infinitum in the media. To suggest this “new” information changes anything is frankly weird

  38. @ DANNY

    “It total vote had not risen, then it seems likely their ‘youth’ vote would indeed have fallen.”

    I don’t think you can really posit a ‘what if’ quite like that. The data anyway is the likelihood of age groups to vote for the parties, not the absolute number of votes. 30% of 40 year olds who voted in 2015 voted Tory, and 30% of 40 year olds who voted in 2017 voted Tory. If turnout increased then actually they added voters in that age group overall, it’s just that Labour added more.

    You have a point about whether Tory voters are dying off, but I think it’s a bit premature to be talking about ‘peak Tory’ as if they’re on some inexorable decline; they just added well over 2 million voters and got their best result in terms of vote share and total votes for about 30 years. Something similar can be said for Labour.

    What we really ought to ask is which party might have an easier time finding a few more votes. Demographics favour Labour, but having increased their support in most age groups is there an obvious source of more votes that they haven’t already got? The Tories have all their eggs in the pensioner basket and are starting from a low base among the young, but can they pull their finger out and deliver some policies to convince just a handful of those voters that they care about them without alienating their existing support?

  39. Rafeal Behr has a turn of phrase which I like

    referring to the vast majority of Conservative MP’s he says

    “They do not worship at Jacob Rees-Mogg’s Church of Immaculate Separation, but they do obey the secular spirit invoked by their constituents called JGOWI – ‘Just Get On With It.’ “

  40. Rafael I meant Rafael (is there a “spoonerism” of constituent letters?)

  41. Danny, I think that anyone under about 45 these days will have mostly negative associations with the tory party; ie the poll tax and late Thatcher, the Major government, austerity. Older people probably have similar negative associations with labour; ie the 1970s.
    I therefore think that we could be seeing that bulge in the python with people of pensionable age, with a similar leftwing bulge for the under 45s and those inbetween split betwwen the two.

  42. The Buzzfeed leak states “…it contains a significant number of caveats and is hugely dependent on a wide range of assumptions..”

    We know many of these assumptions and know they are false. The EU did not turn out to be the economic success that it was supposed to (delivering worse growth than the previous decades, worse growth than its peers, etc), staying out of the Euro didn’t cause a disaster (quite the opposite as the PIGS now know to their cost), the immediate recession never happened. It is surprising how much faith people continue to put in models that continually get it wrong.
    I could go on about daft assumptions of perfect competition and 100% pass through of tariffs to consumers, lack of govt response, etc but as Gove said back before the ref – people have had enough of “experts” (possibly due to their terrible track record and clear bias!).

    @ ALEC (previous post) – Corbyn has ruled out a 2nd ref and his VI want one far more than CON VI. If/when he agrees to one maybe someone might take you (and Vince Cable) seriously. I see a chance of a new ref if/when HoC hits gridlock and before folks get excited about HoL starting that gridlock perhaps think that one through. Frustration tactic increases the odds of the cliff-edge extreme Brexit and gives very little time for ‘meaningful vote’ to allow any renegotiation (this seems to be DD’s approach so he will be very happy if HoL delay the process)

    One scenario that might be the snowball that starts an avalanche is a bunch of LAB MPs leaving to set up a new party or join LDEM (they can have Soubs, Morgan, etc but I doubt they’d go). Time is running out for that. I don’t see it happening and don’t see it making much difference as those MPs rebel within LAB party anyway (and occasionally a few CON rebels) but if we’re grasping for low probability scenarios I’d go with that one – good luck!

  43. In terms of polling, I think modelling of turnout by groups will always be difficult to impossible. Traditionally self-declaration has been used – but if 9 out of 10 means different things between different groups, then how can that possibly addressed given that we know that turnout across the board can change so much between elections? I don’t think there is any satisfactory model, neither in practice nor even in theory.

    Concerning youth turnout in general, one of the key reasons why this tends to be lower is that many 18-25 year olds simply do not live where they are registered. Note that turnout of 16-17 year olds (who tend to live with their parents) in Scotland in 2014 was well above 18-25 year olds.

    Perhaps polls should include a question whether respondents are registered to vote where they actually live, and filter out that don’t? It would certainly interesting to learn if this differs by age group, and if this could be used to differentiate between young people who vote and those that don’t?

  44. @ CHRIS RILEY

    I agree, the Tories have alienated a lot of educated middle class voters with Brexit and what seems like increasingly senseless austerity. I think I’m just pondering if the pollsters made the wrong set of assumptions about where Labour’s new support came from and if they’re now putting too much emphasis on the young and missing what’s happening among the more middle aged.

    I suppose the reason that I think talk of some kind of Tory collapse is premature is because the polls just aren’t showing that. They remain bafflingly high (higher than I think Cameron ever polled) despite the absolute pig’s ear they seem to be making of everything they touch at the moment. If the polling companies have made the wrong changes to their models and put too much emphasis on the youngest voters, groups which already vote Labour in very high numbers, then they may be putting too little emphasis on changes in the middle group of voters where there is actually room for the government’s numbers to fall.

  45. @trevorwarne

    “We know many of these assumptions and know they are false. ”

    Except the list of issues you then provide are not assumptions nor, as far as I can see from the reports, do they figure in the economic modelling of this latest analysis by the UK Government. In addition, the reports suggest that the analysis does take account of some UK Government action e.g. new trade deals.

    But it is interesting that there appears to be a division amongst Brexiters between those who think that Brexit will cause a significant economic hit at least in the medium term and those like you who think that there will be a gain.

  46. @Chris Riley
    “Only going anecdotally here, but having watched the process whereby High Peak went from relatively safe Tory seat to a Labour gain that currently looks unlikely to change hands again, it was driven by educated, mid-career professionals, particularly women, not by young voters.”

    Similarly anecdotally, that seems to have certainly happened to some of my colleagues (STEM sector stuff generally), I’ve seen a few of my peers go straight from tory to labour, these include higher rate tax payers, and brexit in general among this group has obviously gone down like a lead balloon, I think the contempt probably goes both ways.

    It’s not even that they are particularly keen on corbyn himself (and the approval ratings already show that) but the tories seem pretty toxic to this group.

  47. “MICHAEL SIVA
    @ REGGIESIDE

    So – new tory leader come July – almost certainly a brexiter.

    General Election in the Autumn?

    —————————————————————————————

    Highly unlikely IMHO….

    Even if there’s a new leader in the summer, the Tories were burnt by last year’s GE. They know that another GE will mean the Tories losing more seats. The new leader will hang on as long as possible without holding a GE.”

    Agreed. Also the most ardent leavers simply don’t have the numbers to get one of their own in to the last two for their crazy membership to choose the next leader.

    They will then almost certainly make the wrong choice, but at least if there’s not a truly bonkers candidate left then it won’t matter very much.

  48. @seachange

    “I have always said that the UK would be worse off in the short to medium term. Anyone who suggests such a monumental change to our circumstances will be cost-free is living in a fantasy land.

    My point is this has been repeated ad infinitum in the media. To suggest this “new” information changes anything is frankly weird.”

    But what you have always said was not your original point. You said that voters were well aware of the economic adverse consequences of Brexit when they voted to leave. However:

    1, the Leave campaigns ridiculed the economic forecasts which said there would be significant adverse economic consequences as a result of Brexit.

    2. The official Leave campaign manifesto said that the changes arising from Brexit would not be sudden or deleterious. Indeed, it specifically said that new trade arrangements etc would be negotiated and ready to be put in place before Article 50 was triggered.

    3. I don’t recall the Leave campaigns informing voters that they would be worse off in the short and medium term at least.

    So what seems to be new is that some Brexiters are now prepared to admit that the Leave prospectus was somewhat “economical with the actualites”.

  49. @JamesB

    To be fair, it is not politically toxic for sections of the electorate to have contempt for political activists!

    The problem is that a vocal section of the Tory activist base seem to be comforting themselves by persistently insulting a motivated section of the electorate who tend to turn up and vote.

    (We can also ponder quite what retired Tory Leavers expect to achieve by constantly insulting the people they are relying on to make a success of Brexit, and what they expect the consequences to be)

  50. I find it fascinating to watch the process by which some Brexit supporters not just constantly change their position and stated motivations, but also try to claim those changes retroactively.

    Unfortunately, they do this on the Internet where we can track the things they claim to believe.

    In any case, the documents just leaked are important for several reasons:

    – the Government really does know that Brexit will be harmful

    – it knows that none of the options on offer are politically sustainable, so it is forced to pretend it is after another option that is not on the table

    – it was leaked from Davis’ department, fuelling the increasingly persistent rumours that Davis realises he has made the political mistake of his life

    Of course the less reflective Leavers will throw up chaff. It can and should be ignored. We are heading for a very soft Brexit, it is absolutely plain. it is the only chance for the Tories to remain electorally competitive in the medium term.

    (although that membership figure and the persistent ongoing rumours that a campaign of mass entryism is planned may make fools of all of us)

1 2 3 12