Vote shares in England and Wales

It is wrong to say Labour “almost had level-pegging” in 2017 in England.

Twitter is a useful platform for the swift flow of information.

That speed may mean people share incorrect claims.

One user suggested, excluding Scotland, the Conservatives had won every election since 1950. Dr Aaron Bastani (Novara Media) wrote Labour “almost had level-pegging” with the Conservatives. This was referring to England in 2017.

Both claims are false.

Just saying the facts

One Twitter user wrote:

Subtract Scotland’s vote from every election since the 1950’s and the Tory vote has always won the election.

Dr Aaron Bastani, founder of Novara Media, wrote in return:

In England in 2017 Labour almost had level pegging with the Tories. Just saying.

For England in 2017, the election results were:

  • Vote share: the Conservatives received 45.4% of votes cast. Labour won 41.9% of the vote.
  • Seats: the Conservatives won 296 seats, compared to Labour’s count of 227.

In England, the difference between the Conservatives and Labour was 3.5 points, and 69 seats. (These figures exclude the Speaker.)

This is not a party almost having “level-pegging”. (Image: ggplot2)

Also, it is plainly false to suggest the Conservatives won every election “since the 1950’s” if we exclude Scotland.

We can look at England plus Wales since 1950. Labour had the highest vote share in: 1951, 1964, 1966, October 1974, 1997, 2001, and 2005.

The House of Commons Library collated electoral statistics for 1918–2017 and for the 2019 General Election. The R code and Excel file may be found on GitHub. There is also an R Markdown document to view.

This blog looks at the use of statistics in Britain and beyond. It is written by RSS Statistical Ambassador and Chartered Statistician @anthonybmasters.

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