Tom Freeman has crunched some numbers and come up with some figures on the voters Labour has lost since 2001.They are broken down by socio-economic group, or class as those dastardly Marxists call it, and they are grim reading for Labour Party members (among whose number I do not count).
He has produced absolute numbers of voters lost, but I think something relative is more useful. Think about it, Labour has always attracted more votes from class DE than from AB, so any general declines will show up as a larger absolute figure even if the trend for each class is identical.
Like Tom, “I’ve assumed a consistent electorate for all three elections of 2010 size and social structure: 44.4 million people, of whom 27% are social group AB, 29% C1, 21% C2 and 23% DE.”
After producing the above graph Tom concludes that “Over the two parliaments, Labour lost about 80,000 ABs, 560,000 C1s, 990,000 C2s and 650,000 DEs.” Quickly crunching some numbers myself, I work it out as the loss of 13% of the AB vote they secured in 2001 relative to now, 26% of C1 votes, 41% of C2 votes and 27% DE. These swings look large tp so I may need to revisit this; however to me they pass the sniff test, 2010 was bad and 2001 was good for Labour.
There has been an across the board decline in pro-Labour sentiment but it has been particularly concentrated towards the middle and bottom of the income scale, particularly C2 voters.
While we shouldn’t give too much weight to these clumsy formations of class, Labour cannot deny that its decline from popularity seems to vindicate those who claim it deserted those who traditionally relied on the Party. No matter who becomes the leader, the Labour Party have a large hill to climb to regain the trust of those who have deserted it, identifying who they are, and why they did it will be important.
However, too much introspection can be a bad thing, especially with a Government in power intent on radical (and largely regressive) change. Labour must work out why people left and what to do about it by the next election if they want reelection, there are no quick fixes and it must be a parliament long process local process. In the mean time inaction is not an option, so they must fight the coalition wherever necessary as continue present their best alternative plans wherever possible.