[Marxism] (2) How class, turnout and the Brexit party shaped the general election result | Financial Times

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Dec 13 10:21:13 MST 2019

Unfortunately, the article includes a number of graphs that I cannot 
reproduce but anyhow...

How class, turnout and the Brexit party shaped the general election result
Labour punished in Leave voting areas in its northern heartlands
John Burn-Murdoch, Billy Ehrenberg-Shannon and Oliver Elliott in London

The resounding Conservative victory was driven by a dramatic swing of 
working-class support away from Labour, according to an FT analysis.

Boris Johnson’s party secured a big win in Thursday’s election as Labour 
collapsed across the country, leaving the Tories with a majority of 79 
seats — with one seat yet to declare — as Labour fell to its lowest 
number of MPs in 84 years. The Conservatives won 364 seats to Labour’s 202.

In seats with high shares of people in low-skilled jobs, the 
Conservative vote share increased by an average of six percentage points 
and the Labour share fell by 14 points. In seats with the lowest share 
of low-skilled jobs, the Tory vote share fell by four points and 
Labour’s fell by seven.

The swing of working class areas from Labour to Conservative had the 
strongest statistical association of any explored by the FT. But 
although working class support for Brexit was one of the biggest factors 
at the ballot box, some voters’ dislike of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn 
was also key in pushing people away from the party.

Turnout also appears to have helped the Conservatives. The ruling party 
fared best relative to Labour and the Liberal Democrats where turnout 
fell compared with 2017, and worse where turnout rose. This suggests 
that in many battleground constituencies, most of the voters who stayed 
at home this time were Labour supporters, thereby lowering the bar to 
success for the Tories.

The Conservatives were helped by a failed attempt at a co-ordinated 
anti-Tory tactical voting campaign. Across the country as a whole, 
turnout fell 1.7 percentage points in the average constituency. But in 
seats won by the Tories two years ago that had voted strongly for Remain 
in the EU referendum, turnout rose by 1.4 points, suggesting a surge of 
Remain voters seeking to unseat the Tories.

The Remain tactical vote, however, made little headway. One of its 
biggest successes came in St Albans, where the Labour vote fell by 14 
percentage points and the Lib Dems ticked up by 18 points, lifting them 
above the Conservatives into first place.

But in Kensington, the Remain vote was split as Labour fell by four 
points and the Lib Dems ticked up by nine. This gave the Conservatives a 
narrow 150 vote win over Labour, which had only taken the seat off the 
Tories in 2017 by a margin of 20.

In nearby Wimbledon, many Labour voters appear to have lent their 
support to the Lib Dems in an attempt to unseat the Conservatives, but 
ultimately their efforts fell just short and Tory incumbent Stephen 
Hammond squeezed home with a margin of about 700 votes.

The data also suggest the Brexit party played an important role in the 
Conservatives’ success. Where the Brexit party contested seats, they 
took more votes from Labour than the Tories, and Labour suffered greater 
losses on average where the Brexit party stood than where it did not.

This was most evident in the region of Yorkshire and the Humber where 
the Brexit party had their best performances. For example, in the Don 
Valley seat, the Brexit party picked up 15 per cent of the vote as 
Labour’s share fell by 19 percentage points. Despite the strong showing 
by the Brexit party, the Conservative vote share ticked up from 42 to 43 
per cent, allowing the Tories to unseat Labour’s Caroline Flint.

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