Who we’re winning back (and why)

Last week I looked at the detail of who the polls said had stopped backing Labour during our slide in the polls in the last two months.

I didn’t expect to be able to report just a week later on who we had won back.

Yesterday’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times, the same poll for the same newspaper that I had looked at a week previously, showed Labour gaining 4% in just a week to go back up to 40%. The Tories are down 2% to 39% and the Lib Dems down 1% to 8%.The SNP and Plaid Cymru are also down 1% to 3%, and the Greens are down 1% to 2%.

In terms of retaining our 2010 General Election voters, the share of them sticking with Labour has gone up from 85% to 90%. The share of 2010 Lib Dems backing Labour has gone up from 31% to 42% (i.e. more Lib Dem 2010 voters now back us than back the Lib Dems). But we are still not making headway with former Tory voters, attracting only 4% of them, up from 2% last week.

We have gone up 3% amongst men and 4% amongst women in the last week, so the gender gap – our relative unpopularity amongst men – has actually widened.

On age, the last week has seen us restore our historic pattern of support: decreasing with age. We’ve gained a whopping 24% to hit 51% amongst 18-24 year olds, 4% to hit 44% amongst 25-39 year olds, and 6% to hit 34% amongst the high-turnout over-65s. Oddly we’ve lost 6% amongst 40-59 year olds to go down to 38%.

By social class we have stayed steady on 33% with middle class ABC1s but gained 8% to reach 49% (an 18% lead) amongst working class C2DEs.

The regional splits show us down 1% in London in the last week (but still on a healthy 43%), up 1% in the rest of the South, unchanged in the Midlands and Wales, but making dramatic progress in the North (up 9% to 56%, a 29% lead) and Scotland (up 13% to 37%).

Overall this seems to show us consolidating our support amongst voters normally seen as our core vote in the last week: Northerners, Scots, working class voters, the young, and women.

To open up a real lead, especially in the seats that determine the General Election, we now need to add to the coalition we have already assembled more support from middle class voters, southerners, older voters, and people who voted Tory in 2010. To some people this is obvious but it needs to be spelt out as some colleagues seem to think you can build a winning coalition without doing this.

Why the 4% increase in support this week? Perhaps because the week before senior figures in the movement were publicly attacking Ed Balls and Ed Miliband and this week they were not. Disunity seems, based on these figures, to switch off our core support. It certainly doesn’t look like the clarification of our economic stance was unpopular.

It’s a shame that when we dip in the polls the Labour community online goes manic; attempting to attribute blame, but when we get a poll that shows a 4% increase in our vote it is ignored. I can understand the media ignoring it, they have an anti-Ed Miliband, anti-Labour narrative to sell, and reality cannot be allowed to intrude on it, but when we ourselves don’t cheer when our team scores a goal, we need to ask why.

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