How the values of voters and of Liberal Democrat voters compare

There is lots of interest tucked into just this one graph from No Turning Back: The 2019 General Election and the UK’s new electoral geography from the centre-right thinktank, Onward.

Electoral values graph - Onward 2020


For the Liberal Democrats, what struck me is how many voters who aren’t Lib Dems at the moment are close to the party’s values. We certainly have our fair share of political challenges, but they are not the sort that requires a party to change its values (unlike, for example, the political challenge Labour faced after 1983).

But also notice how Labour is torn between appealing to some very different groups of voters. It reinforces a point David Howarth has often made about Labour being a coalition between two very different political tribes. When the party is doing well, that breadth can be a strength. But when it is struggling, that becomes a weakness.

For the Lib Dems currently, the contradictory pulls on Labour make it all the clearer that there is very much a space in the British political spectrum for the party. It’s up to us to raise our game to fill it.

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6 responses to “How the values of voters and of Liberal Democrat voters compare”

  1. That’s very interesting. Can the definition of each “tribe” (or the combination of values that are espoused by the tribes) be accessed?

  2. I think what I would be most interested in would be to do the same exercise with Lib Dem activists, and map that on the same axis.

    I tend toward the view that whilst activists would not be any more left wing, they will be more liberal.

    So, even to reach the (fairly obviously available) ‘progressive professionals’ group could be a stretch for Lib Dem activists in terms of their own social values. Speaking to other centrist groups who are more socially conservative, might be more of a reach for activists than those of other parties, whatever the average values of Lib Dem voters.

  3. Very interesting Figure 45. On the basis of this chart there must surely be a case for the party to try and appeal strongly to ‘Industrial working class’ voters. If we abandon that group to the Tories, then surely they will win the next election by a mile. (That may be sooner than we think if the Tories carry out their pledge of abolishing the Fixed Term Parliaments Act.) However, I put the ‘Industrial working class’ voters in quotes for a reason – I am not aware that they are a tribe with consistent views on policy, apart from NHS policy. It will take more than a good Health policy to capture all those votes.

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