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Barometer

How the election was stacked against Labour for a change

Also in Barometer: who supports gay marriage in Northern Ireland; and how long can a dead woman walk?

17 June 2017

9:00 AM

17 June 2017

9:00 AM

Keep walking

George Osborne called Theresa May a ‘dead woman walking’. The expression ‘dead man walking’ was called out by US prison officers to clear the way for a condemned inmate on his way to execution. It fell into disuse in the 1960s but was rekindled in 1993, first by the publication of a book of that title about a death row inmate called Elmo Patrick Sonnier, then by a successful film version starring Sean Penn. Sonnier was convicted in 1978 of the murder of two teenage lovers and executed in 1984. If Theresa May spends that long on political ‘death row’, it will last beyond a five-year parliamentary term.

Against the bias

Britain’s electoral system used to favour the Conservatives, then Labour, and now it seems to favour the Tories again. Number of votes received per seat won:

Year Conservative / Labour
2017 42,927 / 49,266
2015 34,347 / 40,290
2010 34,979 / 33,358
2005 44,368 / 26,908
2001 50,374 / 25,968
1997 58,187 / 32,340
1992 41,943 / 42,658
1987 36,598 / 43,795
1983 32,776 / 40,463
1979 40,406 / 42,870

 

Youth will out


Labour’s unexpectedly strong election result was linked to young-voter turnout. How has turnout percentage varied among old and young in recent elections?

Year 18-20 / Over 65
1997 61% / 87%
2001 43% / 82%
2005 40% / 85%
2010 45% / 88%
2015 56% / 84%

Source: British Social Attitudes survey

Gay unionism

Some protested at a pact between the Conservatives and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) over the latter’s stance on gay marriage. An Ipsos MORI poll in 2015 found that 68 per cent of people in Northern Ireland supported gay marriage. A similar poll in 2014 found support in Britain running at 69 per cent. The NI poll broke down support for gay marriage by political affiliation:

Sinn Fein 80%
Alliance 79%
SDLP 61%
UUP 49%
DUP 45%

In the Irish Republic, support for gay marriage was found to be 62 per cent.

 


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