Starmer and Labour remain unconvincing to older voters

Patrick EnglishAssociate Director
February 11, 2022, 2:52 PM GMT+0

New YouGov data suggests that despite an increasingly strong national position, Labour and their leader still trail significantly with older voters

With recent events taking their toll on the Conservative party, a new YouGov looks at how the party is holding up among their most important supporters: older people.

According to our data, almost half (49%) of the over-55 electorate would vote Conservative, while just over a quarter (28%) would vote Labour. Only 10% would vote Lib Dem, 5% Green, 4% Reform UK, and 3% for other parties.

However, there is some evidence of a decent-sized swing in vote intention from the Conservatives to Labour – 5% of 2019 Conservative voters in this age group now intend to vote Labour. Further, similarly to the national picture, almost a quarter Conservative 2019 voters now either do not know who they vote for (19%) or would not vote at all (4%).

Indeed, just 62% of older voters who backed Boris Johnson’s party at the last election still intend to vote Conservative again now.

So, despite still maintaining a 21-point lead among older voters, the Conservatives are nonetheless struggling to hold on to significant numbers of one of their most loyal tribes.

Current YouGov vote intention figures among the country as a whole show sizeable Labour leads, with data from 2 February showing the Conservatives nine points behind their main rivals. That represents a difference of -30 points in terms of leads between the over 55s and the general population as a whole.

Keir Starmer and Boris Johnson are about equally disliked among older Britons

While the over 55s do have a negative view of the Conservative party (net -13), they have much stronger disdain for the Labour party (-35). The difference is much smaller when we look at the two respective leaders, however; older people are negative about both Johnson (net -26) and Starmer (-31).

That Johnson is much less popular than his own party among older voters suggests that there could yet still be further damage done to the Conservative party brand should the prime minister remain in power but fail to improve his own personal ratings.

In terms of prospective Conservative replacements for Johnson as party leader, older people are positive about Rishi Sunak (net +15), but negative about Liz Truss (-19), Jeremy Hunt (-23), and Michael Gove (-32).

As with voting intention, over 55s tend to be more favourable toward Johnson and the Conservatives than the national rate. Latest YouGov figures have net favourability for Boris Johnson at -52, and the Conservatives at -41.

That’s a full 26-point difference on Johnson, and a 28-point net difference for his party.

Meanwhile, the general population is more positive (or, less negative) about both Keir Starmer (-19), and the Labour party (-16). Those national figures are 12 points higher for Starmer and 16 points higher for Labour. 

See full results for over-55s here and here, and for general population here and here