Latest YouGov figures show over 1 in 4 2010 Labour voters have defected. Tories have higher core vote.

by Atul Hatwal

Important new analysis from YouGov today. Peter Kellner has looked at all of YouGov’s polls across January – a sample of over 37,000 voters – and crunched the numbers to understand the shifts in voting intention for those who voted in 2010.

This is important because it gives a good idea of the core support for a party and the volatility of the electorate.

For Labour, the common refrain is that our core support is near the level of the vote at the last election. Last year, Marcus Roberts at the Fabians produced an interesting analysis which exemplified this view – he pitched Labour’s core vote at 27.5%.

Around the same time, Uncut commissioned some YouGov polling which found that Labour had lost 26% or just over 1 in 4 of its 2010 vote. Today’s findings from YouGov confirm this figure.

This places Labour’s core vote at 21.5%. The Fabian analysis suggests generational churn (e.g. older Tory voters dying and younger Labour voters coming into the electorate) could add roughly 2% to Labour’s core total, but even allowing for this, a Labour core vote of 23.5% does not set the party up for victory.

In fact, if all other elements of the Fabians analysis were proved to be correct (and this includes a debatable target of attracting an extra 3% of support from the ranks of non-voters ), the absolute maximum Labour could hope for at the next election would be 35.5%.

If this is the ceiling, its not difficult to see a potential, even likely, outcome where Labour posts a result in the low 30s.

Today’s YouGov figures do not contain much cheer for the other parties either. The Tories have lost 36% of their 2010 vote while the Lib Dems have been hit by the defection of 73% of their vote at the last election.

In the main race between Labour and the Tories, these figures mean the Tories have a higher core vote than Labour.

Applying the defection rate to the Tories 2010 total gives a core vote of 23%, 1.5% ahead of Labour. It could well be that the generational churn identified by the Fabians evens out this Tory advantage, but in terms of actual voters who participated at the last election, YouGov’s analysis shows us that the Tories have a clear core vote lead.

As Peter points out in his commentary, these findings do not necessarily reflect the outcome of the next election.  The level of movement in voting intention suggests all is still to play for in an extremely volatile electorate. For example, the high level of 2010 Lib Dem voters who now describe themselves as “Don’t Knows” – 1 in 5 fall into this category – suggests there is a route back for Nick Clegg’s party if they can persuade enough of these former voters, in their key seats, to return to the fold.

But, the figures on the parties’ core vote shares do give us a good idea of the starting point for each party. And for Labour, this is further back than many had thought.

Atul Hatwal is editor of Uncut

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15 Responses to “Latest YouGov figures show over 1 in 4 2010 Labour voters have defected. Tories have higher core vote.”

  1. steve says:

    In order to win back the core vote Clegg should resign his leadership just before the LibDem conference – this will add impact, allowing the new leader to hit the ground running.

    Also, a new leader would smooth the way to a Lab/LibDem coalition. Probably with Cable as chancellor.

  2. Robert says:

    Marcus and Atul might both be right. Maybe there are only 20% of voters who would vote Labour in any circumstances but Labour would have to do something absolutely insane to get a vote that low. In practice, 28-29% is probably the lowest share of the vote that Labour will get, while the Tories seem to have a higher core vote because they have never got less than 30%.

    My guess is that both big parties will get more than their minimum votes but will not get enough for a majority. The General Election might be a contest to decide which party will lead a coalition rather than a majority government.

  3. Renie Anjeh says:

    “The General Election might be a contest to decide which party will lead a coalition rather than a majority government.”
    A General Election is a contest to decide which party should form a government, Robert. Leave Coalition at the door.

  4. swatantra says:

    I have a feeling that the mishandling of the flooding situation is going to hit the Tories for six; it affects a lot of their rural constituencies, and UKIP will be the benficary of a large protest vote in 2015. So, a Hung Parliament is a certainty.
    Cable woud be a disaster as Lib Dem Leader; he’s technocrat with no real vision; better to stick with Clegg. The polls are right and Labours core vote is shrinking mainly because Labour has not defined clearly what it believes in and shown willingness to change..

  5. Tafia says:

    All these people going on about the potential for a Labour/LibDem coalition should remember the demands Balls made last time. The Lib Dems may well decide on their own pound of flesh this time – same share out of Cabinet seats as the tories gave them for example. Or even the Chancellor spot. How many of his front bench team would Ed Miliband be prepared to dump to accommodate Lib Dem Ministers. And would he be willing to surrender at least one out of DPM/Chancellor/Home Secretary.

  6. Robert says:

    Renie, or which parties should form a government.

  7. John reid says:

    At this rate the best case scenario is both the Major parties get 34%’ the tories being able to get 37% on a good day and labour could get as little as 31%’ both the third and fourth parties are heading for 14%

  8. swatantra says:

    People seem to forget that there are countless coalitions Left Right and Centre operating perfectly well at Local Govt level; it should be the norm for National Govt as well. And we’ve alslo got PR operating at local level as well; it should be the norm at national level. We’ve got and had coalitions in the Scots and Irish and Welsh legislatures, and we’re likely to get more of the same in years to come. So its no big deal.

  9. Danny says:

    Tories get 37%? Increase their vote share from 2010? Can I have some of what you are smoking? No government has increased their vote share in post-war Britain. Not even the much heralded but morally bankrupt Thatcher and Blair. Do you seriously think David Cameron will succeed where our two of our most talented politicians (albeit hideous human beings) failed?

    I’ll be amazed if the Tories exceed 33%. And I’ll be going on quite a nice little holiday in the summer of 2015 if they get less than 30%.

  10. Tafia says:

    Danny you are forgetting one thing. That 37% is the share of the turnout – not the total electorate. Last General Election had quite a reasonable turnout – next one may not. Therefore it is perfectly possible to have a higher share of the turnout percentage-wise, with less votes because the turnout is down.

  11. Simon says:

    Why would, given a creditable alternative, the white working classes vote for a party that is trying to ethnically cleanse them. labour have been hijacked by middle class ankers.

  12. Rick says:

    Another week another article designed to talk Labour down by this columnist. Everyone is realistic about the scale of the challenge we face in 2015, bouncing back from one term in opposition is hard.

    But, I’d rather not take advice on opinion polls from someone whose attempts at analysis who was rather slapped down by someone who actually knows what he is talking about –

  13. John reid says:

    Danny, Haorld Wilson got a larger percentage of votes in oct 74 than feb, Eden got a larger share of the vote in 1955 than Churchill in 1951′ it’s no point comparing previous elections when the average amount of voter turnouts upto 1992 was77%, the 65% turnout In 2010 was 5% higher than the previous two, where I feel that the Tory percentage could go up I don’t feel they’ll actually get more votes a lot of Libdems voters will stay at home they won’t all come back to labour, so the percentage the moan two parties wil get would go up due to low turnout

  14. John reid says:

    Should have read Tafia’s comment before putting up my own, Tafia described it better

  15. Landless Peasant says:

    I am a traditional Labour voter, a northern Working Class Socialist, but I have defected and will vote Green in future. I cannot vote for ANY party that supports State Terrorism or flouts European Law:

    I have contacted Labour several times about these important issues, but have yet to receive a reply, so that’s it, they’ve lost my vote.

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