Labour’s shrinking C2 and DE vote

In his Fabian Essay, reported in this morning's Guardian, Ed Miliband has written that the loss of less-affluent voters cost Labour the general election, and said that his rejection of "New Labour nostalgia" made him the modernising candidate in the leadership election.

In his Fabian Essay, reported in this morning’s Guardian, Ed Miliband has written that the loss of less-affluent voters cost Labour the general election, and said that his rejection of “New Labour nostalgia” made him the modernising candidate in the leadership election. Mirroring analysis published by Left Foot Forward in May, Miliband backed up his point about Labour’s lost voters in a study published this afternoon.

The analysis showed:

Labour’s share of the vote amongst C2s and DEs is down considerably more between 1997 and 2010 than the party’s decline in more affluent classes (see graph below);

• Labour lost 1.6 million voters in each of the C2 and DE groups compared to 0.5 million ABs and 1.2 million C1s;

• If each party had secured the same DE vote share in 2010 as they did in 1997 the election result would have been Labour 34% (instead of 30%), Conservative 35% (37%), Liberal Democrat 23% (24%); and

• The class profile of the UK has shifted markedly from 1997 to 2010, with ABs up from 22% of the population to 27%, C1s up from 27% to 29%, C2s down from 23% to 21%, and DEs down from 29% to 23%.

David Miliband, who along with his brother are front-runners in the leadership race, has also written a Fabian Essay, in which he argues Labour’s lack of a shared ideology is a problem for the Party when opposing coalition cuts; he writes that “voters – many of them our voters – spent the election wondering whose side we were really on”.

He added that Labour needs its “own story of political economy that embraces neither the masochism of George Osborne nor the denial of economic reality”. Diane Abbott, Ed Balls and Andy Burnham have also written essays.

The latest Labour List Labour leadership survey, meanwhile, places Ed Miliband narrowly ahead among first preferences, with a 33.4% to 30.2% lead over his brother. The self-selective Labour List survey was conducted between 1.30pm on Monday 9th August and noon on Friday 13th August – 912 readers participated, 83% of whom said they were party members.

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