How the 2017 general elections determined the fate of Brexit - The Independent

IThe voters agreed with the prime minister that the 2017 general elections were about Brexit, given that his vision of Britain's future relations with the EU was widely regarded as a "tough" Brexit (prioritization of the control of the Immigration with respect to continued EU membership in the single market) – we might expect your party to be more strongly advanced in places where a relatively high percentage had voted to leave the # 39; EU.

Our analysis suggests that this is exactly what happened. The higher the estimated vote for the 2016 leave, the more the conservative vote has increased, while the support for the party has actually decreased on average in places where the permit has not guaranteed at least 45 percent of the votes.

The link between Labor performance and the strength of holiday voting in 2016 is much weaker, a conclusion that could be designed to reflect the relatively ambiguous position of the party on Brexit.

There was only a three-point difference between the increase of the Labor vote in places where 60% or more voted to leave and the equivalent figure for constituencies where less than 45% voted to leave – much less than the corresponding 12-point difference in conservative performance.

Even so, between these two models are sufficiently strong that in the seats where more than 60% voted to leave, on average there was a net swing (total vote) of 0.8 percent from Labor to the conservatives, although in any other The Labor vote of England and Wales has increased more than that of the conservatives.

Where did the Ukip vote go?

One of the main reasons why the link between the conservative performance and the strength of the leave vote is much stronger than that for Labor lies in the impact that the two parties had on the collapse of the vote in the Ukip.

The Tories performed better where Leave's vote was stronger in 2016 (Getty)

The voting percentage of Ukip in the 2015 elections was much wider in the areas where Leave did well in the referendum. The decline of Ukip's support two years later was almost invariably the largest where the party had previously been the strongest. If those who voted for Ukip in 2015 (almost all voted to leave in 2016) were now particularly inclined to move to conservatives, this could have served to boost the conservative performance in the constituencies that voted heavily on Leave .

Indeed, while Labor seems to have won some of the voters that Ukip has lost, conservatives have apparently gained many more.

The decline of UKIP in 2017 it was almost invariably bigger in areas where the party had been stronger before (Getty)

Nevertheless, the collapse of Ukip's support is far from being the whole explanation for strong conservative performance in the areas most passionate about leaving the EU. Even taking into account how heavily Ukip's support fell, the conservatives still behaved better where the vote for holidays was stronger in 2016.

Where did the voters Remain and Leave go?

The conservative party did not do well in places where the leave was strong in 2016 only because of the pattern of transition between former voters of Ukip; rather, voters generally seem to have been attracted to the conservative vote in these elections, while voters remain inclined towards Labor.

Support for Ukip in 2015 and for holidays in 2016 varies considerably due to age and educational background. Both were particularly popular among the elderly and those with few or no formal education qualifications, while younger and graduates tended to drive off Ukip and vote for Remain. This model was reflected in the conservative and Labor votes in 2017.

What do conservative and Labor voters look like?

Conservatives tended to do better where there were more people without qualifications. There is a corresponding trend, although much weaker in the opposite direction for work. At the same time, conservatives have behaved less well and have worked better in seats with younger adults – although once this is taken into account, there is no indication, despite the importance given to the Labor manifesto on the promise to scrape university fees for English university students, that electoral colleges with large numbers of students were particularly inclined to swing towards the party.

The social geography of conservative performance and work in these elections was primarily, though not entirely, a consequence of the role played by attitudes towards Brexit in shaping the way people voted.

And the economy?

Traditionally, the state of the economy has played a central role in the way people vote. For example, in 2015, conservatives clearly behaved worse when unemployment was higher or had increased more and household incomes were relatively low. However, at this election, the opposite has happened.

The worst local economic conditions were, the better were the conservatives and the Laborers were the worst. For example, conservative support increased on average by 5.8 points where the district unemployment rate rose between 2015 and 2017, compared to 4.9 points where it decreased. The equivalent figures for the job were 9.8 points and 10.4 points respectively. Furthermore, despite continued tightening on public spending and a promise by conservatives of further austerity measures that could result in cuts in public sector jobs, on the contrary, there was no particular relationship between conservative or labor productivity and local prevalence. of public sector employees.

Has the anti-Semitic row wounded the job?

Not that the focus on Brexit meant that nothing else mattered. Jeremy Corbyn's views on the Middle East have sparked controversy, with critics accusing the Labor leader of being too sympathetic with individuals and groups against Israel, including some widely regarded extremists. There have been relative allegations that, under Corbyn's leadership, the Labor Party had inadequately treated allegations that some party members made anti-Semitic claims. These problems seem to have made the difference. On average, the Labor vote increased by 11.6 points in constituencies, where over 4% are Muslim, compared to an average increase of 9.6 points elsewhere in England and Wales. This difference is not explained by the tendency of the leave vote to be lower in seats with more Muslims. Meanwhile, and on the contrary, the Labor vote rose only by 8.8 points on average among the 10 constituencies with the largest Jewish populations, although seven of these 10 seats are in London, where the work generally took place relatively good.

Labor was ahead of the conservatives of over 40 points in 27% of the seats won (Getty)

Has the social class led the vote?

However, the fallout from the EU referendum was the most important in shaping the geography of conservative and labor performance. In this way, the competition helped to reduce some of the traditional divisions in the British elections. For example, although the electors of the working class were traditionally the foundation of Labor support, they were also more likely to vote to leave and vote for Ukip. Therefore, thanks to its gains among these voters, at this election the conservative support has increased by 9.4 points in the seats where more than 13% are engaged in a normal manual occupation, compared to only 1.3 points where less 10% has a chore. In contrast, Labor's support increased by just 9.1 points in relatively busy places, but by 10.7 points in which relatively few have a routine job.

What happened to the north / south division?

Likewise, the north / south divergence in the British electoral geography has also been somewhat restricted, the first time it has been since 1997. A relatively weak conservative performance and a relatively strong labor performance across the South # 39; England, largely more pro-remaining, meant that on average there was a swing of 3.9 points from conservatives to Labor.

In contrast, the swing to Labor was only 1.3 in the north of England and 0.7 in the heavily abandoned Midlands. A surprising consequence of this divergence is that conservative support is now higher in the Midlands than in the south of England, not least, but also not only because the pro-remained and ethnically different London has become a sort of citadel. Labor.

The battle for 10: Jeremy Paxman returned to Newsnight to question May and Corbyn (Getty)

In spite of the initial appearances, therefore, clearly it was not an election that announced a return to the family models of two-party politics.

Do the boundaries of the constituency hold the key?

But what about the idea that the composition of the parliament has to do with the way the boundaries of the circumscription were designed like anything else? This question is particularly timely, given the current proposals for reforming the borders.

The current limits of the electoral district are prevented from the conservatives, but this is compensated by the more efficient distribution of their vote.

Surprisingly, even if the failure of the conservatives to win an absolute majority last year may have seemed, was the number of seats won by each of the parties significantly different from what we could have foreseen given that the voting shares were guaranteed?

The traditional way to deal with this question was to compare the actual result in places with what would have happened if in every constituency the share of each party had increased or decreased in line with the change in its overall share of votes in Britain as a whole – that is, a uniform change.

However, the application of this method becomes difficult when, as happened in 2015 and again in 2017, there is a substantial change in the level of support for a party, such as the SNP, which only fights the elections in a part of the country but wins a lot of places there. Under these circumstances, the change in that party's share of the vote at the level of Britain will inevitably be a pale reflection of the real increase or decrease in its support in the part of the United Kingdom where it was.

Political leaders during a BBC television event: Theresa May has long been criticized for her absence (Getty)

It is therefore better to use as an initial point of reference what would have happened if the support to all major British parties had increased or decreased in every constituency in England and Wales, in line with the general change in their support in these two parts of the United Kingdom combined. For each place in Scotland, in the meantime, we calculate what would have happened if the increase or decrease of each party's support had been in line with the change in its share in the total of Scotland.

Based on these assumptions, conservatives would have won 323 seats (instead of 318), 259 workers (262), 37 SNPs (35), nine liberal democrats (12), Plaid Cymru three (four) and green one (one), while of course there would be 18 other parliamentarians from Northern Ireland. None of these figures is very different from what actually happened and, above all, the conservatives would not have succeeded in obtaining an absolute majority – even if they were only three instead of eight seats.

What about Scotland?

That conservative bullet includes 11 seats in Scotland. However, if the rise in the conservative vote north of the border had been in line with the lowest increase in England and Wales – and the decline in SNP support had not occurred – conservatives would have won only two Scottish seats. Therefore, in the absence of the distinctive result in Scotland, the conservatives would have won only 314 seats. In this sense, the distinctive result in Scotland proved to be crucial for the arithmetic of the new House of Commons.

The SNP only fights elections in one part of the country, but wins many places there (Getty)

What were the other factors?

However, even though the total number of seats for each of the parties was more or less in line with what could have been expected given the changes in their overall voting shares, there were many places where the result was in disagreement with what would have happened if the movements in party support had been the same everywhere.

No less than 36 places changed the hand that they would not have done under those circumstances, while 16 constituencies were held against the current. Most of these findings may actually be explained by one or another of the systematic patterns of variation that our analysis has identified, including the tendency of conservatives to perform better in seats with a relatively clear leave. high and Labor to do the same in places where they remain relatively well informed, the ability of conservatives to squeeze the other unionist parties in Scotland, and the willingness of some of those who otherwise would have voted Labor to go into tactical way to the liberaldemocratici (pro-remaining). In short, much of the significant variation in party performance has been linked in one way or another to the consequences of the 2016 EU referendum or the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.

So Lib Dem Chief Tim Farron has retained his place with an 8.4% swing to Tories (Getty)

Can Britain's voting system provide stable governments?

This still leaves us with the observation that for the third consecutive time, the electoral system has failed to deliver a substantial majority to the winning party (and, indeed, on two occasions, the majority).

The ability of the system to generate secure general majorities has long been regarded as a hallmark of the system of plurality of unique members (often referred to as "the first post") and the resulting clarity of the link between the outcome of a & # 39. election and who constitutes the government is often cited as an important justification for its continued use.

One might think that the explanation is that, at 2.5 points, the Conservative Labor Party in terms of votes throughout Britain as a whole was relatively small. It was certainly much narrower than the seven points of advantage that conservatives enjoyed in 2010 and 2015. Yet it was bigger than the leads (in Britain) that the conservatives enjoyed in 1955 (1.9 points) and 1970 (2.3 points) or Laburista did in 1964 (1.9 points), however these three competitions all led to a general majority, even in two relatively safe cases.

The historical precedent seems to suggest that the conservative command should have been sufficient to give the party a general majority.

What about the variable dimensions of the circumscription?

One consequence of the prime minister's decision to secure a vote by the municipalities for early elections is that the competition had to be fought on the same constituency borders as in 2015 and not on the new borders the various parliamentary border committees were in the middle of preparing for availability for an election in 2020.

The resulting inequality in the size of constituencies was certainly a disadvantage for conservatives. The average electorate in the constituencies that won in this election was 74.451, while in the seats won by Labor it was 70.529. The difference of about 3,920 people was about 520 larger than two years earlier.

The gap may have been somewhat increased by the government's decision in 2015 to accelerate the introduction of individual electoral registration, which resulted in particularly marked declines in registration in some typically Labor-electoral groups with large numbers of students. But the gap was somewhat limited by applications to be added to the register many (and especially younger) voters made after its initial compilation in December 2016. These added on average 2,300 names to the register in constituencies that Labor won, compared to only 1,600 on average in places won by conservatives.

Did the turnout make the difference?

However, inequalities in the registered electorate are not the only consideration we need to keep in mind when considering the size of constituencies. The injury could also arise if the turnout is lower in places held by one party than those won by its opponents. In fact, the average turnout was on average about four points lower in the seats won by the Laborers at this election (66.5 percent) than those won by the conservatives (70.7 percent).

The current system has failed to reach the general majority, not once but twice (AFP/ Getty)

Having said this, this was a significantly lower gap compared to 2015, as the turnout increased on average by 3.8 points in seats, but only 2.0 points in those won by the conservatives. As a result, with 5,675 votes, the difference between the conservative seats and those occupied by manpower in terms of the total number of votes cast was actually less than this election than it had been in the same two seats two years earlier (6,541).

To this we must add another consideration. The relative success of the conservatives in the polls with a relatively high leave vote meant that the increase in the party's vote was often greater in more seats than the working class outside London and in the south of England, whose populations grew less quickly and therefore tend to have below-average ratings.

For example, conservative support increased on average by as much as 7.3 points in places where fewer than 72,000 people were registered, compared to only 4.3 points where more than 77,000 names were recorded in the register. Similarly, while the conservative vote increased by an average of 9.7 points, with a turnout of less than 65%, it increased by just 3.2 points, with a turnout of over 71%. As a result, there has been a noticeable reduction in the extent to which the conservative vote has focused on the constituencies in which more people have voted.

So are the Conservatives at a disadvantage from the electoral system?

In short, while inequalities in the sizes of constituencies were disadvantageous to the Conservatives at this election, the pattern of the party’s performance, together with changes in the pattern of turnout, reduced this disadvantage compared with 2015.

Such inequalities are not, though, the only potential reason why the single member plurality electoral system might treat one of the two largest parties more favourably than the other; a party can also be advantaged if its vote is more efficiently distributed, that is, if it wins seats by small majorities rather than large ones.

The Conservatives profited from this feature at this election, as indeed they had done in 2015, primarily because Labour won more seats by large majorities. The Labour Party was ahead of the Conservatives by more than 40 points in 27 per cent of seats that it won, while the Conservative Party was that far ahead of Labour in just 12 per cent of the constituencies that it won.

In short, whatever disadvantage the Conservatives suffered as a result of inequalities in the sizes of constituencies tended to be compensated by them having a more efficiently distributed vote.

John Curtice, Strathclyde University, Stephen Fisher, Trinity College, Oxford, and Robert Ford and Patrick English, University of Manchester, are authors of The Results Analysed, in ‘The British General Election of 2017’, edited by Philip Cowley and Dennis Kavanagh, from which this article is extracted

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