How have Britons reacted to Labour’s election victory?

Dylan DiffordJunior Data Journalist
July 09, 2024, 3:11 PM GMT+0

The public are split on their reaction to the election

Any election result is going to provoke mixed reactions among voters. After all, some are definitionally winners, while others have backed the losers.

Labour’s election victory last week is no exception. Four in ten Britons (39%) feel positively about Starmer winning an overall majority, including 13% being ‘delighted’, but this is balanced by 35% being ‘disappointed’ or even ‘dismayed’ about the outcome.

Unsurprisingly, the response to the result is split heavily along party lines. Around nine in ten Labour voters are ‘pleased’ (51%) or ‘delighted’ (37%) by their victory, while it has elicited a negative reaction for roughly eight in ten Conservatives (79% disappointed or dismayed), with Reform UK supporters left similarly unsatisfied (82%) at the result. For Lib Dems, though, a Labour majority is by no means a bad result, 40% being pleased and 17% delighted.

How much reality fits with expectation will be a test for the government going forwards, but these reactions to the election do broadly fit with how people said they would feel about a Labour majority at the start of the campaign. In May, 34% of Britons said they would feel positively about a then potential outright Starmer victory, more than would be happy with any other outcome. Since then, feelings have become slightly more positive, with a small net negative score (-1) for a potential Labour majority turning into a small net positive (+4) for an actual one.

At first glance, this arguably tepid reaction does chime with commentary about the circumstances of Labour’s election victory last week, particularly their record low vote share for a winning party, meaning that their victory was not built upon any major enthusiasm for the party.

But reactions to this year’s general election are actually more positive overall than they were towards a Conservative majority under Boris Johnson in December 2019, despite his majority being built upon a vote share ten percentage points higher. While his expected victory excited a more highly positive reaction (19% ‘delighted’), the overall number happy at his victory was a little lower (35%), with a much larger share of Britons (31%) expressing the stronger of the negative options ‘dismayed’.

This somewhat more positive and less strongly polarised reaction to the 2024 election result fits with our weekly mood tracker, which has shown a five-point increase (to 26%) in the number of people feeling ‘optimistic’, the highest levels seen since the vaccine rollout in spring 2021. Other emotions remain largely unchanged, but it marks a contrast with the 2019 election, whose aftermath saw a bump in the number feeling ‘sad’ (up eight to 33%) or ‘scared’ (up six to 17%).

See the results here

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Photo: Getty