Votivation: are Britons voting for the party they like most, or against one they dislike?

Adam McDonnellResearch Director of Political and Social Research
June 20, 2024, 3:10 PM GMT+0

YouGov’s latest voting intention has Labour 19-points ahead of the Conservatives, but enthusiasm for Kier Starmer’s party is limited. Almost half of the public (49%) have an unfavourable view of Labour with slightly fewer (43%) having a favourable view. A net favourability score of -6 does not look like a glowing endorsement for a party seemingly on course for victory.

New YouGov research looks at one aspect of this apparent disconnect – whether people’s choice of party is them voting for it or against a different one.

Our analysis of a sample of more than 5,000 voters in England, finds that a third (33%) are mainly voting to try and stop a party from prevailing, while two thirds (64%) are voting for the party they want to win the most.

Nearing four in ten (38%) current Labour voters are backing the party more out of dislike for its opponents, while six in ten (59%) are voting for them out of love.

If we split this further, of those planning to vote to prevent another party from winning, virtually all are doing so specifically to block the Conservatives (36% of all current Labour voters).

The party whose voter base is most heavily composed of those trying to stop someone else are the Liberal Democrat. At the moment, more than half (53%) are doing so to try and prevent another party from winning. Again, it is the Tories who are the focus of this voting motivation (46% of current Lib Dem supporters), though 6% of Lib Dem voters are voting this way to try and stop Labour.

When combining the motivations of voters across parties, we find that almost a quarter (23%) of all voters in England are mainly voting to try and stop the Conservatives from winning.

Our data suggests that Conservative voters are slightly less likely to vote in order to try and block another party (31%), with almost all of them trying to stop Labour (28%).

The motivations of both Reform UK and Green party voters are far more likely to be because they favour that party rather than because they dislike another. More than eight in ten (85%) current Reform UK voters are doing so as this is the party they like the most, while similar numbers (81%) of Green supporters say the same. Of the 14% of Reform UK voters who are trying to stop another party winning, 9% are doing so to block Labour while 4% are aiming to stop the Tories.

See the full results here

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Photo: Getty