Conservative support among women

Contrary to reports in the Observer and Guardian, our polls show no collapse in Conservative support among women between May 2010 and September 2011

Conservative support among women

Articles in the Observer ( 2 October 2011) and Guardian (3 October 2011), quoting Ipsos MORI data on women's voting intentions and attitudes to the Conservatives, have a number of errors.

Not all the figures quoted in the Observer article are from Ipsos MORI surveys. The poll showing a 45% Labour voting intention among women late in 2010 was published by YouGov, as was the poll measuring which party was “closest to women”. Also, the statement that “female approval for the coalition has now plummeted to 25%” refers to a YouGov survey on 4-5 August asking “Do you approve or disapprove of the government’s record to date?”, though Ipsos MORI’s July Political Monitor survey found the same figure as a measure of how many women were “satisfied with the way the government is doing its job”. But neither is a measure of voting intention, and is therefore not directly comparable with voting intentions or voting behaviour; both surveys found Conservative voting intentions among women considerably higher than 25%. (36% in the YouGov survey, 35% in the Ipsos MORI survey).

Other Ipsos MORI data findings in the article are taken from an analysis for the Resolution Foundation of aggregated data from Ipsos MORI's monthly Political Monitor surveys, conducted for Reuters (not from any separate survey for the Resolution Foundation). The analysis covers surveys conducted between January and July 2011, compared with our estimates of voting at the 2010 general election. The figures were not “published last week”, but on 13 September in the New Statesman blog (and were in fact previously reported in the Guardian on 14 September).

For the record, the most up-to-date aggregated data from our polls for Reuters, covering surveys conducted between January and September 2011, are given in the table below. We find women’s support for the Conservatives over the course of 2011 at 35%, compared to 36% in the general election, down one percentage point. Over the same period, Conservative support among men has fallen from 38% to 35%, a three-point fall.

However, while there is now no substantial difference between the voting intentions of men and women as a whole, we have found that the government performs worse among women than among men on a number of other measurements of political attitudes; we will be publishing further analysis of this shortly. There are also some considerable differences in changes of party support since the election when the figures are broken down by age and class within gender, as the table shows.

General election 2010 January- September 2011 Change
Con Lab LD Oth Con Lab LD Oth Con Lab LD Oth
All % 37 30 24 10 35 40 12 13 -2 +10 -12 +3
Men % 38 28 22 12 35 40 11 14 -3 +12 -11 +2
Women % 36 31 26 7 35 41 12 12 -1 +10 -14 +5
18-24 Men % 29 34 27 10 22 55 12 11 -7 +21 -15 +1
25-34 Men % 42 23 30 6 32 41 15 13 -10 +18 -15 +7
35-54 Men % 36 28 23 13 35 39 11 15 -1 +11 -12 +2
55+ Men % 41 29 16 14 40 37 9 14 -1 +8 -7 0
18-24 Women % 30 28 34 9 18 61 10 11 -12 +33 -24 +2
25-34 Women % 27 38 27 8 28 47 14 11 +1 +9 -13 +3
35-54 Women % 33 31 29 8 33 44 11 13 0 +13 -18 +5
55+ Women % 42 30 21 7 41 34 14 11 -1 +4 -7 +4
AB men % 44 23 27 7 40 34 13 13 -4 +11 -14 +6
C1 men % 40 28 22 10 38 39 12 11 -2 +11 -10 +1
C2 men % 33 33 19 15 33 41 7 18 0 +8 -12 +3
DE men % 32 35 13 20 25 50 10 15 -7 +15 -3 -5
AB women % 34 29 31 6 37 38 13 11 +3 +9 -18 +5
C1 women % 39 28 25 8 35 37 15 13 -4 +9 -10 +5
C2 women % 41 25 25 9 34 42 12 13 -7 +17 -13 +4
DE women % 29 45 19 7 31 49 8 11 +2 +4 -11 +4

Technical details: (1) During the 2010 general election, Ipsos MORI interviewed 10,211 GB adults aged 18+ (of which 5,927 were "absolutely certain to vote" or said they had already voted), between 19 March and 5 May 2010. Some interviews were conducted by telephone, others face-to-face, in home. To derive estimates of voting behaviour, these respondents’ voting intentions were weighted to the actual election result and turnout at regional level, as well as to the population profile. (2) In 2011, Ipsos MORI interviewed 9,186 GB adults aged 18+ (of which 5,372 said they would be “absolutely certain to vote” at an immediate general election). Interviews were conducted by telephone in monthly surveys in January-September 2011, as part of the Reuters/Ipsos MORI Political Monitor. Data were weighted to the population profile. Voting intention figures are based only on those “absolutely certain to vote”.

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