Brexit or Corbyn? Campaign and Inter-Election Vote Switching in the 2017 UK General Election

29 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2017  

Jonathan Mellon

University of Manchester

Geoffrey Evans

University of Oxford - Nuffield College of Medicine

Edward A. Fieldhouse

University of Manchester

Jane Green

University of Manchester

Christopher Prosser

University of Manchester

Date Written: November 17, 2017

Abstract

The 2017 UK General Election saw the collapse of UKIP and an unusually influential campaign that saw Labour improving from a likely historic defeat to almost pulling level with the Conservatives and denying Theresa May a parliamentary majority. We argue the election should be understood in two phases: first from 2015 to the start of the election campaign, and second the campaign itself. The former period was characterised by strong switching along Brexit lines, with 2015 UKIP voters defecting heavily to the Conservatives following the outcome of the EU Referendum, which had enabled the Conservatives to make credible promises on immigration. Concurrently, many 2015 Labour supporters had defected to other parties or were undecided. The campaign then saw Labour winning voters from all sources, but particularly from previously undecided voters. While campaign vote flows were not as strongly related to Leave/Remain votes, 2015-2017 switching as a whole was heavily influenced by the EU referendum choices. We conclude 2017 was indeed a ’Brexit election‘, but the campaign is better understood as a general rise in support for Labour resulting from Corbyn's appeal relative to that of Theresa May, particularly among the party’s own 2015 voters who had defected before the campaign.

Keywords: 2017 british election, british election study, vote switching, UKIP, Brexit

Suggested Citation

Mellon, Jonathan and Evans, Geoffrey and Fieldhouse, Edward A. and Green, Jane and Prosser, Christopher, Brexit or Corbyn? Campaign and Inter-Election Vote Switching in the 2017 UK General Election (November 17, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3073203 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3073203

Jonathan Mellon (Contact Author)

University of Manchester ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

Geoffrey Evans

University of Oxford - Nuffield College of Medicine ( email )

New Road
Oxford, OX1 1NF
United Kingdom

Edward A. Fieldhouse

University of Manchester ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

Jane Green

University of Manchester ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

Christopher Prosser

University of Manchester ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

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