Effect of class on voting

Effect of class on voting

Impact of Social Class on Voting Behaviour in the UK

Traditional Class Voting:

  • During the 1960s and early 1970s, voting in the UK followed a strong class-based pattern.
  • Most working-class voters (i.e., lower income, manual labour) historically supported the Labour Party.
  • In contrast, the middle and upper classes (i.e., higher income, non-manual or professional jobs) generally backed the Conservative Party.

Change in Class Voting:

  • Since the 1970s, the influence of social class on voting behaviour has been declining, a trend referred to as class dealignment.
  • This has been due to several factors including changes in party policies, economic inequalities, cross-cutting issues etc.

New Class Structures and Voting:

  • The emergence of new political issues and socioeconomic changes have shifted the political landscape.
  • The expansion of higher education and a shift from manufacturing jobs to service sector jobs have led to the rise of a better educated and socially liberal middle class, more likely to vote Labour or Liberal Democrat.

Influence of Class Still Present:

  • Despite the dealignment, evidence suggests that class still has some influence on voting behaviour.
  • The poorest voters are still more likely to vote Labour than Conservative, while the extremely wealthy still tend to favour Conservative policies.

Working-Class drift to Conservative:

  • The 2019 General Election saw a significant number of traditional Labour, working-class voters in the North and Midlands switching their allegiances to the Conservatives. This was due to factors such as Brexit, and dissatisfaction with the Labour leadership.

Remember, while class-based voting is not as predictable as it once was, it still plays a role in the UK’s political landscape, and its interaction with other factors like age, region, and education can have an influential impact on election outcomes.