Reems of newsprint and hours of psephologists time have been wasted analysing who voted for who and whether or not Labour lost to UKIP.
Socialists have joined in this farce too, and the far more interesting election statistic has been ignored by all sides. That is the groups where the majority couldn’t or didn’t vote.
Using MORI’s post election analysis, combined with the fact that only 85% were willing or able to even register to vote gives an idea of the numbers of people who didn’t vote for anybody.
- all 18-25year olds Only 36.6% voted
- all 25-34 year olds Only 45.9% voted
- all “BME”/non-white people Only 47.6% voted
- all living in private rented housing Only 43.4% voted
- all living in social housing Only 47.6% voted
- all in “social classes” D and E Only 48.5% voted
I would say that it is actually less than this because the 15% non-registration rate is actually an average across the country. In reality, these groups are less likely to register and will find it harder to register. Add onto that the fact that British EU citizens were not entitled to vote in the general election, and many nationalities (Russians, Americans, Chinese, etc) weren’t even entitled to register to vote, I think it’s fair to say the next two groups, both with a higher proportion of migrants and young people can be included in the list of majority not voting. The figures below would I think also be less than 50%
- all 35-44 year olds Only 54.4% voted
- all in “social class” C2, manual workers Only 52.7% voted
What does this mean for the British Left?
Firstly, we need to be honest. These people, the “young” (under 40s), the low paid and the non-white should be the natural constituency of both Labour and the left. We need to include them in all our voting figures. Its no good claiming that only 1 in 5 voted Tory using this statistical method, and then using another method to say the left got 2 or 3%. We aim to win over all voters and so must be honest about the fact that the left couldn’t win much more than 1 in 100 of people to vote for us in local elections and 1 in 300 in the general. This non-voting majority is part of our class and just because the establishment parties can’t reach them doesn’t mean we shouldn’t.
More importantly at the moment, it explains why the anti-Tory mood is so strong. Its no accident that the first big protest against austerity came from sixth form students in a big city. They probably know practically nobody who vote Tory, yet face the worse cuts Cameron’s lined up for us all.
What does this mean for Labour?
I doubt any Labour supporters are reading this, but clearly had Labour been able to win the votes of just a tiny fraction of these groups, the Tories would not be in power. They are a far bigger constituency than the mythical middle Englanders who were apparently put off by “Red Ed”. But I suspect the Labour Party are about as likely to reach out to the most marginalised as the left is to unite…………….
Ipsos-MORI data from “who voted for who”