Economically Insecure Voters and the 2024 GE

24 Jun 24

Economically Insecure Voters and the 2024 GE

Economic insecurity affects a larger group in Britain today than the proportion in poverty. Those who feel economically insecure, some 39% of the electorate, equivalent to 18.5 million potential voters, are a key group determining the outcome of the election and are especially prevalent among the working-age population.

The Nuffield Politics Research Centre (NPRC) conducted a large, original nationally representative survey of over 8,000 people, in March 2024, for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.  The survey focuses on economic security and its broader consequences.

Economic insecurity is an important electoral dividing line for the current UK General Election.

Professor Jane Green, Director of the NPRC and report Co-Author, speaking on the Radio 4 Today Programme (24 June 2024), said:

“This in-depth study asked people about their feelings of economic insecurity, the balance of outgoings and income together, so things like rent, mortgages, debt repayments, childcare, the kinds of things that really weigh on people. Looking at the election campaign, politicians are not talking about these deep concerns that people have. Our research shows how these feelings of economic insecurity can predict voter support for one party or another.”

Labour's electoral coalition has grown, in significant part, due to winning more support among people who feel economically insecure; from more economically insecure Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, and among people who did not vote in 2019. The Conservatives have lost more support among those people who feel economically insecure; with insecure working-age 2019 Conservatives moving to both Labour and Reform UK (as well as being undecided), and their retirement age counterparts moving most strongly to Reform UK.

Professor Geoffrey Evans, NPRC and report Co-Author, speaking on Times Radio (24 June 2024), said:

"People are worried about their own personal circumstances. Our research has shown that perceptions really matter, people are worried about their economic future and so what people choose to do, politically, will most certainly have an impact in the general election next week."

This new study, which will continue with two further survey waves in 2024 and 2025, will continue to bring new insights to bear after the election, with a comprehensive picture of the causes and consequences of economic insecurity in Great Britain.

Read the full comment on this new research, The economically insecure voters behind the 2024 election outcome.


About the authors:

Professors Jane Green and Geoffrey Evans, Dr Zack Grant and Gaetano Inglese.