Lord Ashcroft: How Britain voted and why. My 2019 post-vote poll

Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC is an international businessman, philanthropist, author and pollster. For more information about his work, visit www.lordashcroft.com and www.lordashcroftpolls.com.

I surveyed over 13,000 people on election day who had already cast their vote to help understand how this extraordinary result came about. The results show who voted for whom, and why.

The demographics

Labour won more than half the vote among those turning out aged 18-24 (57 per cent) and 25-34 (55 per cent), with the Conservatives second in both groups. The Conservatives were ahead among those aged 45-54 (with 43 per cent), 55-64 (with 49 per cent) and 65+ (with 62 per cent).

Men chose the Conservatives over Labour by a 19-point margin (48 per cent to 29 per cent), while women did so by just six points (42 per cent to 36 per cent).

The Conservatives won among all socio-economic groups by margins of between 6 points (DEs) and 20 points (C2s).

When did you decide?

More than half of voters said they made up their minds within the last month, with a quarter saying they did so within the last few days, including 16 per cent saying they decided on election day or the day they filled in their postal ballot. Labour support was higher among those making up their minds within the last week of the campaign.

How easy was the decision?

39 per cent of all voters said they found their decision harder than usual. Labour (42 per cent) and Lib Dem (56 per cent) voters were more likely to say they found the decision harder than usual than those who voted Conservative (32 per cent). Those who voted Conservative and SNP were the most likely to say they found the decision easier than usual, with 27 per cent of voters for both parties saying they found it much easier than usual.

44 per cent of Remain voters said they found their decision harder than usual, compared to 35 per cent of Leave voters.

Tactical voting

Just over a quarter (26 per cent) of all voters said they were trying to stop the party they liked least from winning, including 43 per cent of those who voted Lib Dem and 31 per cent of Labour voters. One in three Remain voters said they were voting to stop their least preferred party compared to 18 per cent of Leave voters.

Overall, 72 per cent said they were voting for the party they most wanted to win, including 82 per cent of Conservatives, 74 per cent of SNP voters, 67 per cent of Labour voters and just over half (54 per cent) of Lib Dems.

39 per cent of those trying to stop their least preferred party voted Labour, 30 per cent voted Conservative and 20 per cent voted Lib Dem.

Where did 2017 voters go?

84 per cent of 2017 Conservative voters stayed with the Tories, with eight per cent going to the Lib Dems, five per cent going to Labour and two per cent going to the Brexit Party. 79 per cent of those who voted Labour in 2017 stayed with the party, while nine per cent went to the Conservatives, seven per cent to the Lib Dems, two per cent to the Greens and one per cent to the Brexit Party. Three quarters of 2017 UKIP voters switched to the Conservatives, with 11 per centgoing to the Brexit Party.

Best Prime Minister

49 per cent of all voters said Boris Johnson would make the best Prime Minister, with 31 per cent naming Jeremy Corbyn and 20 per cent saying they didn’t know. 95 per cent of Conservative voters named Johnson, while 76 per cent of Labour voters named Corbyn. Lib Dem voters named Corbyn over Johnson by 26 per cent 19 per cent, with 55 per cent saying they didn’t know.

The issues

Asked to choose their top three broad reasons for their decision, Conservative voters were most likely to say their party or leader “was the most likely to get the Brexit outcome I wanted” (68 per cent), “would do a better job of running the economy” (64 per cent), and that the leader “would make a better Prime Minister” (58 per cent).

The top reasons Labour voters chose were that they “trusted the motives of the party I voted for more than those of other parties” (65 per cent), that they “preferred the promises made by the party I voted for more than the promises of other parties” (59 per cent), and that they thought Labour would do a better job of running the economy (though only 39 per cent chose this as a reason). Only 19 per cent of Labour voters said that believing the party would get the Brexit outcome they wanted was among their top three reasons for doing so.

For Lib Dems, the most important reason was “trusting the motives of the party” (62 per cent), followed by getting “the Brexit outcome I wanted” and that they “preferred the promises” made by the Lib Dems (both 53 per cent).

Asked to choose from a longer list of issues which three had been the most important in their voting decision, 72 per cent of Conservative voters named getting Brexit done, with 41 per cent naming the NHS, 29 per cent naming the economy and 25 per cent choosing having the right leadership or the best PM. For Labour voters, the NHS was by far the most important issue, named by 74 per cent; 28 per cent mentioned stopping Brexit or getting a second referendum, while 27 per cen t mentioned poverty and inequality. Among Lib Dems, 65 per centmentioned stopping Brexit or a getting second referendum, 58 per cent mentioned the NHS and 30 per cent mentioned climate change and the environment.

The Brexit effect

73 per cent of those who voted Leave in the EU referendum voted Conservative, while 16 per cent voted Labour and four per cent for the Brexit Party. 92 per cent of 2017 Conservative Leave voters stayed with the Tories. 64 per cent of 2017 Labour Leave voters stayed with Labour, while 25 per cent switched to the Conservatives.

Labour took 47 per cent of the vote among those who voted Remain in the EU referendum, while the Lib Dems took 21 per cent and the Conservatives took 20 per cent. 66 per cent of 2017 Conservative Remain voters stayed with the Conservatives, with 21 per cent going to the Lib Dems and eight per cent to Labour. 84 per cent of 2017 Labour Remain voters stayed with Labour, while nine per cent  went to the Lib Dems.

One in twenty (five per cent) said they voted Leave in the 2016 referendum but now think we should remain; 13 per cent said they voted Remain but the referendum result should be honoured.

Nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of Conservative voters said they voted Leave and wanted Brexit to happen as soon as possible; a further 18 per cent said they voted Remain but wanted the referendum result to be honoured. 61 per cent of Labour voters and 76 per cent of Lib Dem voters said they voted Remain and still wanted to prevent Brexit happening if at all possible.

80 per cent of Leave voters who wanted to get on with Brexit voted Conservative, with 11 per cent choosing Labour and four per cent the Brexit Party. More than half of Leave voters who now wanted to remain voted Labour (58 per cent), with 14 per cent going to the Lib Dems and another 14 per cent to the Conservatives. Remain voters who wanted the referendum result to be honoured chose the Conservatives over Labour by 62 per cent to 23 per cent, with eight per cent going to the Lib Dems. Among remainers who still wanted to prevent Brexit if at all possible, just over half (56 per cent) voted Labour, with 26 per cent going to the Lib Dems; five per cent of them voted Conservative.

15 per cent of voters said they would probably have voted for a different party had Brexit not been on the agenda at this election. This included 28 per cent of those who ended up voting Lib Dem, 14 per cent of Conservatives, and 11 per cent of Labour voters. 2016 Leave and Remain voters were equally likely to say they would probably have voted differently had it not been for Brexit (16 per cent).

Half of Labour voters who would have voted differently had it not been for Brexit said they would probably have voted Lib Dem; 52 per cent of Lib Dems who would have voted differently had Brexit not been on the agenda said they would probably have voted Conservative.

Postal votes

We found 38 per cent saying they had voted by post. The Conservatives won 48 per cent of postal votes, with 29 per cent going to Labour and 13 per cent to the Lib Dems. 41 per cent of Conservative and Lib Dem voters voted by post, compared to 34 per cent of Labour and 33 per cent of SNP voters.

Full data tables are available at LordAshcroftPolls.com

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Author: Lord Ashcroft


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