Voter flows since the last election
Even in this age of high partisanship, voters do still switch between parties. And when these voters do, the effects on elections can be huge. It makes sense, then, to study how they intend to switch between parties at the next election, right?
But instead of taking just one poll, we've taken the last four published polls and averaged out how each party's 2015 voter group intends to vote this time round. The polls we've taken are YouGov's poll taken between 12th and 13th April, ComRes' from 11th to 13th April, and ICM's last two polls - one taken between 14th and 17th April, and the other taken immediately after Theresa May's speech on the 18th.
Here's the result:
There are X thing worth pointing out from this analysis, we think:
1. In terms of retention rate of 2015 voters, the Conservatives do far, far better than the other parties. 72% of voters who chose Labour at the last election still intend to vote for the party, while 70% of 2015 Lib Dems are sticking with the party. For UKIP, only 53% of their voters from the last election intend to vote for them again. The Conservatives, meanwhile, have retained 92% of their voters from a couple of years ago.
2. In percentage terms, Lib Dem-Tory switchers are far more prevalent than voters defecting from the blues to the yellows. While 4% of 2015 Conservatives now say they will vote for Tim Farron's party, a much larger 15% of Lib Dem voters have decided to switch to Theresa May's Tory party. Now, there are two extra things to note: first, that percentages are not raw votes - at the last election, the Tories got so many more votes than the Liberal Democrats that even though the percentage of Lib Dem-Tory defectors is much higher than the other way around, in terms of actual numbers, slighly more 2015 Tories will be voting Lib Dem this year than 2015 Lib Dems voting Conservative. The second thing to note is that these are national figures: local issues, as well as the Remain-iness of a constituency could prove to be more important things to look out for in key LibDem-Tory battlegrounds than these national figures. We've published analysis of our own, naming a clutch of constituencies that the Lib Dems look like they could win in June.
3. Between a quarter and a third of UKIP's 2015 voters now intend to vote Conservative. In the four polls we've used to put together this analysis, between 21% and 39% of UKIP's voters at the last election now say they will vote for the Conservatives, with the average standing at 28%. For the effect of this, it doesn't make sense to think about Conservatives winning back UKIP seats, since the party no longer has any MPs. It makes more sense, though, to think about what this right-of-centre consolidation means in marginal constituencies represented by a Labour or Lib Dem MP. With about 10% of Labour voters now intending to vote for Mr. Farron's party, a split of the left vote and consolidation of the right vote could prove hugely influential in some of this election's closest fights.
4. No, Mr. Nuttall is not a threat to Labour. When Paul Nuttall was elected to lead the UK Independence Party, pundits and journalists alike claimed that he would precipitate the downfall of Labour in the North of England in the party's former heartlands. Well, that doesn't appear to be the case. Just over 3% of Labour's voters in 2015 reported to YouGov, ComRes and ICM that they intend to vote for UKIP.
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