10 June 2009

Interesting Analysis Of Euro Elections And The BNP Vote

The BNP got almost a million votes - frightening isn't it? But instead of just trying to gerrymander them under the carpet as first-past-the-posters would argue, we need to understand and counter the views that make people vote for them, otherwise their support will continue to grow.

To deny the BNP their 2 MEPs on 10% of the vote in the North of England would also mean denying UKIP their 13 MEPs on 18% of the national vote share and the Greens their 2 MEPs on 12% of the South East and London vote.

Would it be fair that the party who came 2nd in the Euros - UKIP with 18% of the vote, got no MEPs while Labour in 3rd place got plenty? Because that is what would have happened under first-past-the-post.

David Cameron may think it fair that 27% of the vote for the Tories should give them over 50% the seats, but most voters would disagree.

Of course Cameron is going to support a system that is going to deliver him a landslide at the next general election on little more than 35% of the vote and of course Labour MPs holed up in safe seats are not going to vote for christmas.

Channel 4 and YouGov have carried out a good analysis of the BNP vote, finding:-

That BNP voters are mainly working class Tories
"The demographics of people who voted BNP in the European elections show they are more likely to be C2DE social class, likely to read the Sun or Star and almost certainly not a broadsheet, they are likely to work in a manual occupation (they are also likely to be male and middle aged, though that has less of a partisan implication). They are also likely to come from a Labour supporting background - 47% of BNP voters say their parents voted Labour.

This fits with the pattern of where the BNP tend to do well - normally seats that were previously strongly Labour - and with other studies of where the BNP get their support.

If BNP supporters are traditional Labour, male working class voters therefore, the natural conclusion that it’s Labour they are taking support from. This falls down, however, on some other questions - asked if they’d rather have Cameron or Brown as PM, BNP voters opt for Cameron by 59% to 17%. Asked to place themselves on the political spectrum they put themselves right of centre, in roughly the same place as they do the Tories. 22% of them think the Tories care about people like themselves, only 6% say the same about Labour. In short, the people the BNP seem to appeal to are actually “working class Tories” - the sort of traditional working class voters who under other circumstances might shift over to the Conservatives"
This pisses all over the Tories argument that BNP supporters are disaffected socialists - they are actually the sort of people who admired Thatcher and share the views of the Tory tabloids they read. These people have had their prejudices played to, to try and persuade them to vote Tory, instead they have become so angry and extreme they have gone over to the BNP. BNP support is a side effect of our Tory tabloids lies and distortion.

The full Euro results are here.

Tories 28% of votes (4.2m) - 36% of seats (25 MEPs)
UKIP 17% (2.5m) - 19% (13 MEPs)
Labour 16% (2.4m) - 19% (13 MEPs)
Lib Dem 14% (2.1m) - 16% (11 MEPs)
Greens 9% (1.2m) - 3% (2 MEPs)
BNP 6% (0.9m) - 3% (2 MEPs)
SNP/PC 3% (0.5m) - 4% (3 MEPs)
Others 7% (1.1m) - 0% (0 MEPs)

There is an argument that more proportionality is needed rather than less, but I am being picky. Under first-past-the-post the Tories would have got more than 50% of the seats on 28% of the vote.

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