How general election vote shares have changed over the years, part 2

A follow up as requested in the comments on my earlier post, this time showing what proportion of the electorate each of the main parties won in previous general elections and also the proportion who did not vote for any party:

Vote shares graph

(Click on graph for larger version)

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This entry was posted in General Election.


  • paul barker 19th May '10 - 2:02pm

    I wonder if you could show the average Lab + Con vote & the LD vote , with trend lines from 1951. I reckon the lines would cross around 2020.

  • Andrew Suffield 19th May '10 - 2:08pm

    Interesting how apathy has gone up.

  • David Allen 19th May '10 - 5:52pm

    Fascinating! A very clear linear decline in (Con plus Lab) votes over 65 years.

    With a little sting in the tail. Up to about 1990, we were the main gainers. Since 1990, apathy has been the only gainer.

  • Paul McKeown 19th May '10 - 9:16pm


    No. What is missing is “others”. They have gained dramatically. We should encourage right-wing Conservatives to vote UKIP and hard left Labourites to vote Green. Without necessarily increasing our own vote, we would certainly increase our share of parliamentary seats. To do this, we should point out the incongruity of a “broad church” political party which includes, e.g. Bill Cash and Ken Clarke. They have no views in common, only their mutual interest in getting to returned to parliament, and the Conservative Party spends all its time “triangulating” Bill Cash in order not to lose the electors who share his views. Labour has similar problems.

  • Paul McKeown 19th May '10 - 11:59pm


    The difference is that, looking only the Conservatives, but bearing in mind that similar observations can be made, that Conservative rhetoric is typically very different from Conservative policy. For someone for whom, for instance, a strong line on Europe or immigration was important, then it should be pointed out that the policies that the Conservative party was actually putting forward would almost certainly not match with expectations. The official Conservative line, rather than the often frightening Conservative mood music, is, perhaps, closer to the Lib Dem position, than the UKIP position. I think that in future election campaigns, the LDs must make it clear where Labour and Conservative present policies that differ from the noises that their supporters anticipate and should indicate where the LD position is not, in fact so radically different. This puts the squeeze on red and blue, who both have potentially strong stalking horses threatening to outflank them.

    One example I would like to give concerns the amnesty for illegal immigrants, which, in the end was poorly promoted or, indeed, defended by the LDs. The LD policy was to regularise (and providing stringent safeguards to) an existing, but unspoken, policy implemented by the Major government and continued by the Blair and Brown governments. Basically let the people know, rather than lie to them. I was disappointed that Clegg didn’t respond by challenging Cameron to discontinue Major’s policy; he wouldn’t have had an answer. Essentially only the LDs and UKIP were at all honest on the topic, although they choose radically different ways to deal with the fact. If you really wish to end the amnesty for long-stay illegal immigrants, you should not vote Conservative, as it is their policy, after all.

    This is the sort of political point I think we should be prepared to make. Let the stalking horse eat into red and blue. I don’t think our vote would be affected by such a line.

  • Paul McKeown 25th May '10 - 8:15pm


    Sorry Dave, it isn’t meant to be cynical. What I find cynical is the attempt to smother debate by the red and blue broad church parties, which cover such large political ground that there are many people within those political parties who would struggle to find a political philosophy in common. I stand by my comment (and resent any imputation of cynicism) and would urge all voters to vote for what they believe in, rather than vote against what they fear.

  • Paul McKeown 25th May '10 - 8:27pm

    And frankly DSD the idea that I should vote for either the so-called progressive red party appalls me as much as the idea of voting for the blues. This idea that because I’m LD means I should have some sympathy for Labour is an insult. Labour has proved (yet again) regressive, illiberal, warmongering, in favour of overarching central government, uninterested in genuinely helping the poor and on an economic suicide mission. It finds support for the most part in vested interests, fear of the blues and traditional and regional voting history. Your message that voting for a big tent progressive party is simply what Labour does at every election: don’t vote Liberal Democrat, you might let in the Conservatives. It is fundamentally a message of fear and an attempt to deny choice. In a system of voting where I could make a second choice, I would (in most circumstances) bullet vote, 1. LD, 2. get lost.

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