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UK elections July 2024

A graph a day… 5th July 2024

People in the UK have chosen new Members of Parliament (MPs), and although not unexpected, the results are still very interesting. Due to the voting system – First-Past-the-Post – which means that only one person is chosen in a given district, regardless of how close other parties were – there could be a discrepancy between the overall percentage of votes and the number of MPs.

The Labour Party has won by a huge margin in terms of the number of MPs, but its undoubted success is perhaps less due to the number of votes than to the collapse of the Conservative and Unionist Party—which has been in power for the last 14 years.

It is perhaps easier to identify losers: Conservatives, Scottish National Party (SNP), and Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), but there are also clear winners besides Labour: Liberal Democrats, Reform, Greens, and Sinn Fèin.

Some interesting graphs I picked up this morning:

These are voting intentions, so comparable to the vote share. I was particularly struck by the age profile. The shift from Labour to Conservative vote as the voters age has been expected, but I also expected a higher Reform share in the younger populations. Yet, their share in 18-24 is the lowest at 8%, rising to 16% for over 55s. Instead, the younger population decided to vote Green!

The vote share for both main parties is roughly equal across the income. A slightly higher proportion is voting Conservatives among the highest income (AB), which is surprising given that this party presided over the Brexit catastrophe. But, perhaps this class is more shielded than others and more likely to (still) believe that Conservatives will reduce taxes. AB also has the highest share of LibDems which traditionally is the party of higher end of the middle class.

Reform in turn does best in C2, D and E – most deprived classes – as they have been mostly affected by the economic crisis – and the associated loss of trust in the established politics.

Two graphs here show how FPTP works in the UK. Labour’s lead over Conservatives is only 10% in terms of the vote share, but more than 300% in terms of seats. Even worse, Reform 14% translates into only 1% of the vote while LibDems 12% vote share becomes 11% seat share.

Secondly, it shows that 30% of the vote share is now taken by parties different from the “big ones”, a much higher proportion than in the previous years. Perhaps it is time for a Proportional Representation?

This is also reflected in how tight the vote becomes. I love the graph above, showing how big a majority was for all seats contested in recent years. There are just more and more seats that are marginal. Under the FPTP a candidate is thus selected over another one, on the basis of an almost equal vote. It also means that the results over years will be characterised by large swings.

More graphs coming soon…