After a long election night, the result of the election is in, and the Conservatives have lost their majority, Labour have grown, the Lib Dems have seen a small comeback and UKIP have no seats. So why did the election turn out the way that it did?
Exit Poll Predictions
The exit poll released after the polls closed was somewhat accurate in predicting the election. The final number of seats held by each party was close to the predictions made by the exit poll.
The Conservatives performed better than the exit poll predicted gaining 4 extra seats. Labour were only 4 seats less than the prediction for their party. The Liberal Democrats were predicted at 14 and achieved 12. The Scottish National Party were predicted at 34 and achieved one seat more than the exit poll predicted. The exit poll predicted UKIP’s seat amount as they achieved no seats in the election.
Turnout in this election was 68.7%, which was an increase from the 2015 election (66.1%) but a decrease in turnout from the EU Referendum last year (72.2%). It is said that the increased turnout helped to increase Labour’s number of seats due to the number of young people who registered to vote and supported Labour.
This increased turnout and collapse of the UKIP vote meant that there were more votes up for grabs at this election.
The Conservative Party saw their vote share increase by 5.5% but lose 12 seats and their majority in the House of Commons. When Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May called the election she expected to secure a majority and wipe out the opposition. But the Conservatives have fallen short of a majority, and are forming a Minority Government with a support deal with the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party. So what attracted voters to the Conservatives, and what drove people away from the party?
Theresa May and the Conservatives have been pursuing a Hard Brexit deal, so it is likely that voters who support this position, and leaving the Single Market would vote for the Conservatives. Traditional Conservative voters who have always voted for the party may have voted for Conservative candidates this election. The Conservatives also engaged in a lot of rhetoric about the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn. Their most notable slogans included the Labour Party leading a “Coalition of Chaos” and the Conservatives offering “Strong and Stable leadership.” Voters who believed these slogans to be accurate may have voted for the Conservatives. The Conservatives may have also benefitted from tactical voting, as voters who did not want to see a Labour Government or Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister may have voted for the Conservatives.
However, with an increased voter turnout from the last election, what stopped people from voting for the Conservatives?
The election focused heavily on local issues such as Health, Education, Public Services, and Security, rather than the Brexit process, as the Conservatives expected. This allowed the impact of 7 years of Conservative Austerity to be highlighted throughout the election. Austerity has weakened public services over the past 7 years and this was likely to turn voters away from the Conservatives, and towards other parties. In addition, it was argued that the actions of the Prime Minister had an impact on people moving away from the Conservatives. Theresa May refused to appear in televised debates alongside other leaders and only answered accepted questions, whereas Jeremy Corbyn was more open with the public and his supporters. It can be argued that this turned people away from the Conservatives.
Labour saw a their share of the vote increase by 9.5%, and saw their number of seats increase by 30 to 262. The outlook was bleak for Labour at the start of this election, as they were polling behind the Conservatives and facing electoral wipeout under Jeremy Corbyn. But what made people vote for the Labour Party?
It can be argued that their anti-austerity stance would appeal to voters, as the impact of austerity was highlighted in this election, and voters looking for an alternative may have voted for Labour. It can also be argued that voters who did not support Tory policy, and were not supportive of the Tory’s handling of issues such as the Housing Crisis may have voted for Labour. Labour’s manifesto was described as radical, and proposed massive changes, such as nationalisation of industry, a National Education Service, and an abolition of university tuition fees. People who support these policies may have voted for the Labour Party. Labour may also have benefitted from tactical voting, as voters may have voted for Labour rather an other parties to prevent another Tory Majority Government.
A major factor in Labour’s performance in this election was the increased number of young people who turned out to vote. It can be argued that Labour’s policies on education, university tuition fees, and lowering the voting age to 16 all attracted young voters to the party. Jeremy Corbyn was known for his good relationship with young people, and his ability to engage them in politics, which may have been a massive advantage for the Labour Party.
Although, there are some factors which could have prevented voters from supporting Labour in this election. Corbyn’s policies may not have appealed to everyone and caused them to take their vote elsewhere.
Obviously right wing voters and Conservatives would not have voted for Labour, but there are other factors.
Labour’s left wing manifesto policies may not have appealed to more centrist voters and may have led them to vote for other parties. It can also be said that Corbyn’s views on Nuclear Weapons, being an opponent may not have attracted the votes of people who support having nuclear weapons, despite a commitment to nuclear weapons being in the Labour manifesto.
Liberal Democrats 12
The Lib Dems saw a small increase in their number of seats, going from 8 to 12. The Lib Dems saw a poor election result in 2015 as a result of their Coaltion Government with the Conservatives in 2010. But what factors influenced the Liberal Democrats’ electability?
It can be said that the Lib Dems were seen as a centrist voice in this election, with the Conservatives pushing for a Hard Brexit and Labour’s left wing manifesto, it can be argued that more centrist/liberal voters may have voted for the Lib Dems instead of the larger parties, and this is where the party could have picked up votes. The Liberal Democrats are one of the political parties who still publicly support remaining in the European Union, and support a second referendum on the Brexit Deal that the Government achieve after the negotiation period. This could have attracted Remain voters, and people who support Remaining in the EU may have voted for the Lib Dems because of this.
However, this factor could also have caused the Lib Dems to lose votes, the UK has had a major vote every year since 2014, and the public seem to be fed up with this. So the prospect of a second referendum could put voters off voting for the Liberal Democrats. The Lib Dems could also be suffering from the coalition with the Tories 7 years later, as there may be some voters who still don’t trust the party. But the Lib Dems could have been the victims of tactical voting, as people who would’ve voted for the Lib Dems may have voted for Labour or the Conservatives to keep the other one out of Government, causing the party to lose votes.
Scottish National Party 35
The SNP saw a landslide victory across Scotland in the 2015 General Election, gaining 56 of Scotland’s 59 seats, but the SNP saw their number of seats decrease to 35, losing seats to Labour, The Conservatives, and the Liberal Democrats in Scotland. So what factors influenced the election result for the SNP?
On the on hand, we can look at the factors which could have attracted voters to the SNP. The SNP have been in Government in Scotland for 10 years, and it can be argued that those who support them and their policies, as well as their performance as the Scottish Government would vote for them in a General Election. The SNP would also gain support from those who support Scottish Independence and the idea of a second referendum on the issue. The SNP were also strong supporters of remaining in the EU and the Single Market, it can be argued that Remainers in Scotland may have had reason to vote for the SNP.
However, these factors could have also led to the loss of votes for the SNP. Voters who disagree with their policies and their performance in the Scottish Government may have voted for other parties as a result. Those who oppose Scottish Independence and the prospect of a second referendum were unlikely to vote SNP, as well as Scottish Brexit voters. Just like the Liberal Democrats, the SNP could also have lost votes due to tactical voting, as people may have voted Labour or Conservative in order to keep either Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn out of Downing Street.
UK Independence Party 0
This election saw the UKIP vote collapse, and these votes went to other parties. It can be argued that after Brexit, UKIP became redundant in British politics, as their primary goal of leaving the European Union had been achieved, and the Eurosceptic voters who once made the party so popular have now moved to parties who support a brexit policy that appeals to them.
Although some voters may have stayed with UKIP, the majority of their votes have went elsewhere. This could be because they have achieved their primary goal of leaving the EU, the leadership of Paul Nuttall, or having unpopular policies that didn’t appeal to voters.
This election result was unexpected, and there was a number of factors that caused the outcome. This result will influence political events and the way that different parties act over the next parliamentary term. We can see that this election will have huge repercussions for different parties and their leaders, but what will happen? We just need to wait and we’ll find out.