John Oxley

Why ‘Spotify dads’ are turning on the Tories

Credit: Getty images

It’s probably never been cool to be a Tory. There will never be a Conservative youthquake – they are the unhip party, the unkissed party. Voting Conservative has always been a mark of being a bit older, a bit more settled down. Like a sensible saloon car and comfortable shoes, it was something you eased into when you acknowledged you were past the flush of youth. Now, however, the party is seemingly losing even that.

New polling from Portland Communications shows the Conservative party is losing sway with the least cool demographic of all: middle-aged dads. On almost every metric, the party is in retreat, with its vote share among the normally solid blue 50-59-year-olds dropping by a precipitous 27 points since 2019. This will probably be enough to wipe them out in the key suburban seats which could mean the difference between a slender Labour majority next time round and annihilation for the Tories.

It can’t be trusted that a few more laps around the sun simply turns you into a Tory

Some of this is of course down to the chaotic course the government has taken in the last year or so. It’s been beleaguered by scandals and beset by the challenge of a stuttering economy and public services. It has also failed to meet these issues with convincing policies, seemingly opting for a managed decline of both itself and the country. The government now feels like it’s working out its notice, turning up but doing little more than going through the motions. Yet the Tories’ problems are not simply short-term.

While not as strained by housing and childcare costs as the Millennials and Zoomers, those in their forties and fifties have not enjoyed the demographic dividends their parents did. Many will own property but will be paying more for less than their parents did.

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