The voting gap between homeowners and renters is the widest it’s ever been

Young private renters voted for change

It’s always been the case that outright homeowners are likely to vote Conservative, social and private renters are more likely to vote Labour, and mortgage-holders are split.

But in this year’s general election, the gap between owners and private renters was the widest it has ever been, reflecting increasing political polarisation on the the basis of housing tenure. According to Ipsos MORI’s election analysis, 55 per cent of homeowners voted Conservative, while 54 per cent of private renters voted Labour.

This represents a dramatic about-turn from a decade, when the gap between renters and owners was narrowing. As John Burn-Murdoch writes in the FT:

“The gap between owner-occupiers and private renters had been narrowing up until 2010, at which point the former favoured the Tories by 13 percentage points and the latter by 6 points. But this month while owner-occupiers voted in largely the same way — leaning Tory by 14 points — private renters favoured Labour by 23 points. In total, the tenure gap has widened in seven years from 7 to 37 points.”

In part, this reflects the fact that young people are much less likely to own their own homes, and were much more likely to vote Labour. That turnout increased significantly this year, both among young people and renters, is a promising sign — and hopefully a catalyst for a more comprehensive approach to solving the housing crisis.

See: Boris Johnson and Iain Duncan Smith would lose their seats under new constituency boundaries

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3 Responses to “The voting gap between homeowners and renters is the widest it’s ever been”

  1. Dave

    I think far too much has been read into these numbers.

    Did you not consider that this mirrors the age split almost perfectly. The number of young people renting is far far higher than older people. The number of older people owning outright is far far higher than the number of young people. Given that age has been shown to be one of the biggest determinants in voting preference in the election it is far more likely that these stats are a result of age rather than home tenure although obviously home tenure and age are strongly correlated.

  2. Lawman

    One aspect is that everyone needs a stake in society. ‘Socialist’ means we are better off collaborating within a society, rather than being a collection of competing individuals.

    House ownership is one important way to achieve this. In addition, provision of public sector tenanted accommodation, with security of tenure and affordable stable rents.

    As such, we should pursue the policy of pre 1997 Labour governments and undertake a large house building programme: with attractive smaller size houses and flats (not ghastly tower blocks); not ‘mansions’ with 20% social housing.

    This would help the less advantaged and give them a stake in society. It would also attract votes.

  3. patrick newman

    Dave, you have partially answered your own question on these stats in your last sentence. I think you will not find a very high correlation of youth and social housing tenure – mainly because it is an eye of a needle job for a young person to get a council dwelling offer these days.

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