UKIP, not the Greens, are attracting the most former Labour voters

Today’s polling from YouGov shows the Conservatives beating Labour and the Greens beating the Lib Dems each by one point. Some within the Labour party (and media) are panicking that this is a symptom of Ed Miliband’s failure to inspire more left-wing voters who are in turn moving to the Green Party.

The problem is, the polling does not support this.

Of those surveyed who voted Labour in 2010, a significant 76% of them are still planning on voting Labour in 2015. This is more than the Conservative equivalent (75%) and significantly more than the Lib Dem equivalent (28%).

This does however suggest a 24% voter leakage. It is UKIP however, not the Greens, who are picking up most of these disillusioned former Labour voters. 10% of those who voted Labour in 2010 said that they are now planning on voting UKIP.

In comparison the Conservatives are picking up 7%, Greens 4%, SNP/Plaid 2% and Lib Dems 1% of former Labour voters.

Labour have a problem here but the problem is UKIP shaped, not Green! Labour’s response though has been to appoint Sadiq Khan to lead a unit responding to the Green threat whilst essentially ignoring the much larger and significant threat of UKIP.

This might well be one of a list of mistakes that may just cost them the majority they are seeking in 2015.

If the Green Party though are not picking disillusioned Labour voters, where are these new found supporters coming from?

The Green Party are making their gains primarily through disillusioned former Lib Dem voters. 16% of those who voted Lib Dem in 2010 are now planning on voting Green in 2015. Specifically the Greens are making huge ground among young voters (especially 18-24 year olds) which used to be a Lib Dem strong area.

16% of 18-24 year olds said they would vote Green compared to just 8% of who said they would vote Lib Dem.

Both the Green Party and Labour’s relative position in the polls are dependent on the sinking Lib Dem ship continuing to sink (more 2010 Lib Dem voters are planning to vote Labour than they are Lib Dem!).

If after 2015 the Lib Dems end up back on the backbenches and start to regain some of the trust they lost in government and Labour attempt to run a government, it will be interesting to watch where these floating voters settle.

There is a big chunk of the electorate who are no longer attached to one political party which is going to make the coming decades hard to predict and interesting to watch.

In the words of Master Yoda – “Difficult to see, always in motion are the future”


Filed under Politics

3 responses to “UKIP, not the Greens, are attracting the most former Labour voters

  1. Phil Irvine

    I’m becoming increasingly worried about the main polling companies sampling and reporting their figures without error bars. We are seeing big fluctuations week on week, and the weekly polls aren’t even agreeing with each.

    Look at the stats from this page:

    They show Tory v Labour:
    Lord Ashcroft: 29%, 30%
    Populas: 35%, 36%
    YouGov: 33%, 32%

    And the ComRes poll from just two days ago shows 30% v 34%.

    I fear that bad statistics and focus on the wrong polls will lead Ed Miliband, a poor leader, but a man of principle, down the wrong route for the next election. He will struggle to balance getting back those that have switched to UKIP with keeping the gained LibDem voters and I believe that focus on the latter would put him in a better position for the election.


  2. adamaramsay

    There are two things here I disagree with.

    First, Labour are putting a huge amount of resource into the UKIP squeeze. They haven’t appointed a special person because it’s their whole party strategy.

    Second, the comparison – how people are voting now vs how they voted in 2010 – I think is the wrong one. Labour lost in 2010, but they were ahead in the polls 2 months ago. So the question people are asking isn’t “where did all their 2010 voters go” it’s “where did the people who said they’d vote Labour 2 months ago go?”. And it is true that lots if them – particularly the 2010 Lib Dems who had switched to Labour – have gone Green.


    • If it is their party strategy (which of course it is at least in part) it is not a joined up thinking party strategy. Their target seats for example pay little credit to the size of the UKIP vote. I think at the moment they are (sometimes wrongly) thinking that in Lab/Tory marginals UIP will eat into more tory vote than their own.

      I think both a important questions but take your point. That said, this is another reasons why 2010 data is important (one that I had not fully considered)


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