It’s been a long established pattern of British politics that the higher you go up the social scale, the higher turnout is in elections. The 2010 general election is no exception but looking through the numbers one class dimension comes out. Overall turnout collapsed after 1997 and has since had a modest recovery, but the pattern of that recovery across the classes is far from even.
Amongst DEs, turnout in 2010 was 57%, still 9 points down on the 66% turnout in 1997. It was a similar picture amongst C2s (58%, still 11 points down) and C1s (66%, still 9 points down). However, amongst ABs, turnout in 2010 was 76%, just 3 points down on 1997.
This variation in turnout recovery does not go very far to explain Labour’s election defeat as in fact the Conservatives out-polled Labour amongst both C1s and C2s but it does offer an additional insight into the mixed picture of good news and bad news from turnout in recent British elections.
Figures based on MORI’s turnout data for 2010 and MORI’s estimated turnout data for 1997. Many thanks to MORI for answering my query about the data so promptly.