Issues & Ideas | 10th February 2015

Three insights from 'The Drilldown': C2 voters, rich Tories and 2010 Lib Dems

Two months ago we launched The Drilldown: our unique insight into the polls, which […]

Photo: Getty


Two months ago we launched The Drilldown: our unique insight into the polls, which allows you to break down the past five years of polling by age, class, gender and party ID.

We launched the tool to help readers decipher the news. “Next time you see a press release about the resurgence of some party with some demographic group, you can use this tool to know if the spinners are cherry picking polls or there is a real trend,” James Morris  wrote on May2015 at the time.

Now we can use it to track three key election issues: How are the voting intentions of skilled manual workers – a key group for Labour – shifting? Are the Tories a party of the rich? And how are all those 2010 Lib Dem voters likely to vote in 2015?

1. As many C2s – that’s skilled manual workers – now support Ukip as the Tories

Ukip are actually more popular than Tories among C2s in ICM’s polls (ICM poll for the Guardian and are set to release their latest monthly poll this week).

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Ashcroft’s and Populus’ polls tell a similar story. C2s – who account for around a fifth of the workforce – are now as likely to vote for Ukip, who won 3 per cent of the overall vote in 2010, as for Britain’s largest party, who won 36 per cent.

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2. Are the Tories a party of the wealthy?

If the electorate was only made up of A and B voters – that’s managerial, professional and higher administrative workers, who make up more than a quarter of workers — the Tories would be headed for a landslide (at least in the popular vote, our electoral system makes Tory majorities all but impossible in a six-party system).

Their 7-point lead in Lord Ashcroft’s poll is emblematic of their lead among AB voters across all pollsters.

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3. 2010 Lib Dems are increasingly turning to the Greens

For a long time the biggest election question was: Who will 2010 Lib Dems vote for? The Lib Dems won 23 per cent of the vote in 2010. They are now polling at around 7 per cent. Where have the other two-thirds gone?

A couple of months ago we summarised this by writing:

“Around a third of Lib Dem voters are loyal, a third are drifting to Labour, and a third of moving to the Tories, Ukip and the Greens.”

But support for the Greens is now approaching 20 per cent, up from around 10 per cent. Ashcroft, ICM, Ipsos MORI and YouGov all show the party has started to win over more 2010 Lib Dems in recent months.


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We’ll be keeping an eye on all the latest shifts over the next three months as polling day approaches. Subscribe to our forthcoming email newsletter for graphs of the day, or keep up to date with us on Twitter.