The Labour Party’s progress in the 2017 General Election was attributed by many to the popularity of leader Jeremy Corbyn.
But so-called ‘Corbynmania’ didn’t actually happen in the election, a new study has suggested.
Research from NatCen Social Research’s British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey suggests that while there was a recovery in turnout at the 2017 election, that didn’t necessarily directly benefit Labour.
According to a preview of the survey, while there was a 5% increase in voting amongst 18-24-year-olds in the 2017 election, that was broadly in line with the rest of the population – with a 4% increase in turnout amongst 45-54-year-olds and a 3% increase in the over-65s.
The results suggest that the recovery from the collapse in turnout among young people – which nosedived from 61% in 1997 to 40% in 2005 – had already taken place by 2015.
According to the BSA, there wasn’t a particularly higher turnout by Labour supporters than their Conservative counterparts.
Its analysis showed that 80% of people who “identify” with Labour turned out in 2017 – representing a 4% rise from 2015 – yet turnout by those who “identified” with the Conservative party was 88%, showing a 2% from 2015.
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However, the new survey -authored by Sir John Curtice – shows that the British public is more interested in politics than at any time since 1991, with turnout at the 2017 General Election at its highest level since 1997.
According to the survey, 43% of people said they had “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of interest in politics, compared to 36% of people who felt that way in 2015.
And in 2017, 45% of people felt that there was a “great difference” between the Conservative and Labour parties, up from 27% in 2015, and from a low of just 13% in 2005.
Professor Sir John Curtice, Senior Research Fellow at the National Centre for Social Research said: “Claims that the 2017 election saw a dramatic increase in turnout amongst young voters are wide of the mark.
“However, what is true is that the marked drop in turnout amongst young voters that was observed at the turn of the century is no longer in evidence.
“Fears that democracy in Britain was at risk of losing a whole generation of voters now look as though they have not been fulfilled.”
“If anything, voters in Britain are showing greater interest in politics than they have done at any point in the last 25 years. Perhaps the intense debates over Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party have served to persuade voters that politics does matter after all.”
(Top picture: Getty)