The Charts That Tell 2017

The Charts That Tell 2017

A once apathetic generation mobilised and a government now without a majority: here are the charts that explain Britain’s 2017.

by Ben Walker, 04 January 2017

Labour started the year 12pts behind and ended it 2pts ahead

You’d be forgiven for thinking there was no hope of a turnaround in Labour fortunes at the start of 2017. Up until April there was minor change in the twelve point lead enjoyed by the Tories and only after the u-turn on social care during the general election campaign did the blues start shedding support, losing all that was gained after the snap poll was announced.

Labour experienced a short period of ‘honeymoon’ in the aftermath of the general election, leading the Tories by four points through June and then retreating to an average of two points by the end of the year.

There’s been yet no noticeable change in support for the other parties: UKIP crashed following the election announcement and the Lib Dems and Greens have seen little traction with the public. Talk of a #LibDemFightback are at present reserved for council by-elections and shoots of a #GreenSurge have yet to materialise.

Though Labour has a lead, all parties are within the margin of error of what was attained in June. If an election were held tomorrow it shouldn’t be a surprise if little changed with some Conservative-DUP arrangement continuing. Labour needs to average three or more points to be assured of a lead, and around six to attain an outright majority.

The number of Britons who want Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister has doubled

More Britons still prefer Theresa May as Prime Minister over Jeremy Corbyn, but the numbers today are a far cry from what they were a year ago, when close to half of Britons were of that opinion compared to 37 per cent now.

Jeremy Corbyn has seen the numbers wanting him in Number 10 almost double, from 16 per cent at the end of 2016 to 31 per cent now.

Young people now like voting

Turnout among older voters has always been consistently high, and only since the EU referendum have young people fancied voting in great numbers too. Whether or not 18-24 year olds came out for Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour party, an opposition to Brexit or even simply as a consequence of an engaging campaign during the referendum is yet to be seen, but the 2017 election has, probably, solidified their presence as a newly engaged demographic that parties will have to respond to.

Small shift towards those thinking Brexit to be the wrong decision

Over the course of 2017 YouGov asked the public 37 times whether they thought the vote to leave the EU was the right or wrong decision, and of the 23 asked in the run up to the general election, 16 had a plurality agreeing it was right. Of the 14 taken following the election, just one said it was right.

Though the most recent YouGov has a plurality believing Brexit to be the wrong decision, and though more on average opine such since June, this is mostly margin of error stuff. The latest puts it at 45-42, and 29 of the 37 polls taken this year have given leads for either side of 3pts or less.

It can’t be said that the country is seriously changing its mind on the issue, or whatever sensational headline can be (and has been) thought up. The country by and large still wants Britain’s departure to go ahead, but there has been some recent evidence to suggest that support for a referendum on the Brexit deal is substantial, although the figures given are mixed. Survation have it at 50%, YouGov at 33% (note the similar question wording) and ICM 32%.

Public opinion on the Brexit negotiations have been broadly disapproving with only a breather of approval given to the government in the run-up to the triggering of Article 50 and during the general election campaign. ORB’s series put disapproval at a record high of 66% in November.