How Britain voted in the 2017 election

As we have for every general election since 1979, Ipsos MORI has produced estimates of how the voters voted in 2017.

How Britain voted in the 2017 election

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Head of Political Research
  • Roger Mortimore Director of Political Analysis
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As we have for every general election since 1979, Ipsos MORI has produced estimates of how the voters voted in 2017.  As always, it is important to note that these are estimates only, based on people’s answers to pre-election surveys during the campaign.  However, the figures have been calibrated to match the final actual results and turnout at a regional level, which should make them a more accurate guide to how different sub-groups voted. 

Note on turnout:

As we have noted before, estimating turnout is one of the hardest challenges when relying solely on survey data.  Despite the changes we have introduced to our methodology since 2015, which we believe have made our samples more representative, polls may still be more likely to interview politically engaged people than those who are disengaged, people may over-estimate their likelihood of voting, and they may think they are registered when in fact they are not.  For post-election analysis we have the advantage of knowing how many people turned out in the end, but we still have to identify them in our data on the basis of the answers they gave before the election.  This means that the turnout estimates given below should be treated with particular caution, including taking into account the voter validation results from the British Election Study when these are published (in previous elections these have shown a similar pattern to our estimates).  Two turnout figures have been provided.  The first expresses turnout as a % of all resident adults, which is what our sample is based on.  This gives a figure lower than the “official turnout” figures usually used, which is a % of the number of names on the electoral register (as not everyone in Britain is registered, and some people may be registered twice even though they can only vote once). The two measures should not be confused1.  We have also provided a figure for all those registered, however for the reasons expressed here we believe the first figure is both more reliable and more meaningful. 

Here are ten key findings from the results:

  1. Age was even more of a dividing factor than in 2015 (and the biggest we’ve seen since our records began in 1979).  All the swing to Labour was among under 44s (and highest of all among 25-34s), while there was a swing to the Conservatives among over 55s.  This is the biggest age gap we’ve seen in elections going back to the 1970s.  Although (as in previous elections) the swing among women and men overall was similar, there was a difference between young men and young women.  Among 18-24 year olds, Labour increased its vote share much more among women than men.
  2. The middle classes swung to Labour, while working classes swung to the Conservatives – each party achieving record scores.Although the Conservatives maintained a six-point lead among ABC1s, Labour increased its vote share among this group by 12 points since 2015.  Similarly, while Labour had a four-point lead among C2DEs, and increased its vote share among this group, this was eclipsed by the 12-point increase for the Conservatives.  This is simultaneously Labour’s best score among ABC1s going back to 1979, and the Conservatives’ best score among C2DEs since then.
  3. Education represents another clear divide.  The Conservatives had a large 17-point lead among those with no qualifications, and a smaller seven-point lead among those educated to below degree level.  Among graduates, though, Labour had a 15-point lead.
  4. The Conservatives fell further behind Labour among BME voters.  Labour’s lead among BME voters increased to 54 points, a swing of six points since 2015 – mainly because the Conservative vote share among BMEs fell (Labour’s vote share increased even more among white voters, but the Conservative share also rose among this group).  Turnout among BMEs also increased six points since 2015. 
  5. The Conservatives and Labour both held on to around nine-tenths of their 2015 vote.  However, only half of 2015 Liberal Democrat voters stuck with the party this time (30% went to Labour, 15% to the Conservatives), while six in ten UKIP voters from 2015 switched to Theresa May’s party (only two in ten voted UKIP again).
  6. Labour had a lead among 2016 Remain voters, the Conservatives had a lead among 2016 Leave voters.  Labour led the Conservatives by 54% to 26% among Remainers; the Conservatives beat Labour by 65% to 24% among Leavers
  7. Not many people who didn’t vote in 2015 or 2016 voted in the 2017 election, but those who did mostly chose Labour.  Only around one in eight of those who did not vote (excluding those who were too young) in 2015 or in the 2016 referendum voted this year, but around six in ten of those who did voted for Labour.
  8. The Liberal Democrat share was mostly stable at the topline (although this hides significant churn), but the Greens lost popularity among young people.  Around half the Liberal Democrat vote came from their 2015 supporters; another three in ten roughly equally from 2015 Labour and Conservative voters.  Despite this, the profile of the Liberal Democrat vote is little changed – they did best among graduates (12%) and remain voters (13%), and worst among those with no qualifications.  The Green Party’s vote share among 18-34s, though, fell five points since 2015.
  9. UKIP’s vote share fell across the board, mostly among its biggest supporters from 2015. Only among male DEs did its share reach 5%, while UKIP’s biggest falls were among older people and the working classes.
  10. Compared to 2015, turnout rose most among young people, to match their estimated turnout levels in the EU referendum, while it fell very slightly among older people – but older people were still much more likely to vote overall.  As noted above, caution should be taken in interpreting these turnout estimates, but our estimates suggest just over half of all resident 18-34 year olds voted2, very similar to our estimates of turnout among young people in the 2016 EU Referendum.  Compared with the last general election in 2015, turnout among the population as whole rose by 16 points among 18-24 year olds, and by eight points among 25-34 year olds.  Turnout fell slightly by three points among those aged 65+ since 2015.  Turnout also rose among social classes C1 and C2, but fell slightly among men in social class AB. 

(Use arrow keys or fingers to scroll left and right in the table)

 
Voting
 
 
 
Change since 2015
 
Con
Lab
LD
UKIP
Other
Con lead
over Lab
Turnout
(all - recommended)
Turnout
(all registered)
Con
Lab
LD
UKIP
Other
Turnout
(all - recommended)
Turnout
(all registered)
Con to
Lab swing
 
%
%
%
%
%
± %
 
 
± %
± %
± %
± %
± %
± %
± %
%
All
44
41
8
2
5
+3
63%
69%
+6
+10
0
-11
-5
+2%
+3%
-2
Gender
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Male
44
40
7
2
7
+4
64%
69%
+6
+11
-1
-12
-4
+3%
+2%
-2.5
Female
43
42
8
1
6
+1
62%
69%
+6
+9
+0
-11
-4
+2%
+3%
-1.5
Age
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
18-24
27
62
5
2
4
-35
54%
64%
-1
+20
+1
-7
-13
+16%
+21%
-10.5
25-34
27
56
9
1
7
-29
55%
64%
-6
+20
+2
-9
-7
+8%
+10%
-13
35-44
33
49
10
1
7
-16
56%
63%
-2
+14
0
-8
-4
-2%
-1%
-8
45-54
43
40
7
2
8
+3
66%
72%
+7
+8
-1
-12
-2
-1%
0%
-0.5
55-64
51
34
7
2
6
+17
71%
73%
+14
+3
-2
-12
-3
-1%
-4%
+5.5
65+
61
25
7
3
4
+36
71%
73%
+14
+3
-1
-13
-3
-3%
-5%
+5.5
Men by Age
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
18-24
36
52
5
1
6
-16
54%
62%
+4
+11
+1
-7
-9
+18%
+20%
-3.5
25-34
30
54
8
1
7
-24
55%
66%
-5
+22
-1
-9
-7
+7%
+11%
-13.5
35-54
40
42
8
2
8
-2
62%
67%
+3
+11
0
-10
-4
-1%
-1%
-4
55+
56
30
6
3
5
+26
73%
74%
+15
+5
-2
-15
-3
-2%
-5%
+5
Women by Age
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
18-24
18
73
5
2
2
-55
53%
66%
-6
+30
0
-9
-15
+13%
+22%
-18
25-34
24
58
10
2
6
-34
54%
63%
-6
+17
+5
-7
-9
+9%
+11%
-11.5
35-54
37
46
8
1
8
-9
61%
68%
+4
+10
-1
-10
-3
-1%
0%
-3
55+
58
27
8
1
6
+31
69%
73%
+13
0
-1
-12
0
-2%
-3%
+6.5
Social Class
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
AB
47
37
10
1
5
+10
69%
73%
+2
+11
-2
-6
-5
-2%
-2%
-4.5
C1
44
40
7
2
7
+4
68%
74%
+2
+12
-1
-9
-4
+4%
+6%
-5
C2
45
41
6
2
6
+4
60%
66%
+13
+9
0
-17
-5
+4%
+4%
+2
DE
38
47
5
3
7
-9
53%
61%
+12
+6
0
-14
-4
+2%
+5%
+3
Men by Class
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
AB
50
34
10
1
5
+16
68%
72%
+4
+10
-1
-8
-5
-5%
-5%
-3
C1
43
40
8
2
7
+3
70%
76%
+1
+14
0
-10
-5
+7%
+7%
-6.5
C2
45
41
5
3
6
+4
59%
65%
+14
+9
0
-19
-4
+3%
+2%
+2.5
DE
36
48
4
5
7
-12
53%
61%
+11
+8
0
-13
-6
+3%
+4%
+1.5
Women by Class
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
AB
43
40
11
1
5
+3
69%
75%
-1
+12
-1
-4
-6
0%
+2%
-6.5
C1
44
40
7
2
7
+4
67%
72%
+3
+10
-1
-8
-4
+3%
+3%
-3.5
C2
45
42
7
1
5
+3
60%
67%
+11
+9
0
-16
-4
+4%
+4%
+1
DE
38
47
6
2
7
-9
53%
61%
+11
+5
+1
-15
-2
+2%
+4%
+3
18-34s by Class
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
AB
31
52
10
1
6
-21
61%
68%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
C1
27
58
7
1
7
-31
64%
73%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
C2
27
62
6
*
5
-35
49%
58%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
DE
18
70
4
4
4
-52
35%
50%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
35-54s by Class
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
AB
45
38
11
1
5
+7
69%
74%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
C1
38
43
8
1
10
-5
65%
71%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
C2
40
44
5
3
8
-4
58%
64%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
DE
27
55
6
3
9
-28
50%
58%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
55+s by Class
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
AB
61
24
10
1
4
+37
76%
78%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
C1
60
25
7
3
5
+35
75%
77%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
C2
59
28
6
2
5
+31
70%
73%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
DE
49
37
5
3
6
+12
65%
68%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

(Use arrow keys or fingers to scroll left and right in the table)

 
Voting
 
 
 
Change since 2015
 
Con
Lab
LD
UKIP
Other
Con lead
over Lab
Turnout
(all - recommended)
Turnout
(all registered)
Con
Lab
LD
UKIP
Other
Turnout
(all - recommended)
Turnout
(all registered)
Con to
Lab swing
 
%
%
%
%
%
± %
 
 
± %
± %
± %
± %
± %
± %
± %
%
Owned
55
30
7
2
6
+25
70%
73%
+9
+7
-2
-13
-1
-2%
-4%
+1
Mortgage
43
40
9
2
6
+3
68%
72%
+4
+8
0
-8
-4
+4%
+3%
-2
Social renter
26
57
4
4
9
-31
52%
60%
+8
+8
+1
-15
-2
+1%
+4%
0
Private renter
31
54
7
1
7
-23
53%
65%
+3
+15
+1
-10
-9
+8%
+14%
-6
Ethnic group
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
White
45
39
8
2
6
+6
64%
69%
+6
+11
0
-12
-5
+1%
+1%
-2.5
All BME
19
73
6
*
2
-54
53%
64%
-4
+8
+2
-2
-4
+6%
+8%
-6
Qualifications
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
No qualifications
52
35
4
4
5
+17
60%
64%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other qualifications
46
39
6
2
7
+7
61%
67%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Degree or higher
33
48
12
*
7
-15
69%
76%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2015 vote
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Con
87
8
3
*
2
+79
79%
80%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lab
7
88
3
*
2
-81
79%
82%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lib Dem
15
30
51
*
4
-15
76%
79%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
UKIP
60
16
1
18
5
+44
70%
70%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Did not vote
27
60
5
1
7
-33
12%
19%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
EU Ref vote
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Remain
26
54
13
*
7
-28
74%
76%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Leave
65
24
2
4
5
+41
67%
70%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Did not vote
23
66
4
1
6
-43
14%
25%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Note: The EU referendum figures were updated at 4pm on 20/06/2017.

Technical note

Base: 7,505 GB adults aged 18+ (of whom we have classified 5,255 as likely voters, using the same definitions as in previous election estimates), interviewed by telephone and online between 21 April – 7 June 2017. The proportions of voters for each party and non-voters was then weighted to the actual results by region. The data were also weighted to the population profile of Great Britain.

Note 1: We have recalculated the figures from 2015 on this basis, so the changes given in the 2015 change columns are on exact like-for-like comparison. However, note that because of the alterations to the electoral registration system since the 2015 election, there may have been significant changes in the proportion of different groups who are registered to vote, so comparisons of the registration-based turnout figures from 2015 to 2017 may give a misleading impression of changes in a group’s voting behaviour.

Note 2: See note on turnout figures above.

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Head of Political Research
  • Roger Mortimore Director of Political Analysis

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