Labour’s problem is deeper than C2s

It has almost become conventional wisdom to blame Labour's defeat on a loss of support among C2s. But the party's problems are deeper and more severe.

It has almost become conventional wisdom to blame Labour’s defeat on a loss of support among C2s. The truth is that Labour lost Ds, Es, C2s and (to a lesser extent) As and Bs too.

In his leadership launch last week, David Miliband said, “Among semi skilled workers our vote went down 18 per cent.” A few days before Liam Byrne wrote in the Guardian:

“In 2005, 43% of C2s were Labour. Now Mori says it’s down to just 23%.”

This was followed up in a Progress pamphlet published last week which asks “Why did Labour lose – and how do we win again?”. The shadow chief secretary’s figures were based on Ipsos-MORI’s election day poll and an initial sample of just 1,000. On Friday, they released their revised figures based on “more than 10,000 interviews”. As Declan Gaffney has expertly shown at Labour List:

“Labour’s vote share among the ‘C2’ demographic did fall in 2010, but by 11 percentage points, rather than 20 …

“In 1997, Labour had 59% of votes in [the DE] group; by 2010, this was down to 40%.”

Other surveys show a variation in the drop among C2s but support Mr Gaffney’s findings that the problem is just as severe among DEs. Stan Greenberg’s qualitative survey of 1,000 voters finds that support among C2s fell from 47 per cent to 34 per cent (-13%) while support among DEs fell from 47 per cent to 36 per cent (-11%). Meanwhile, ICM’s research shows that support among C2s and DEs fell from 47 per cent in 2005 to 31 per cent (-16%) and 33 per cent (-14%) respectively in 2010. But this data was based on a smaller sample than the definitive Ipsos-MORI survey.

Picture credit: Labour List

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