.834ZyesThe Tories will get 29.8% of the vote at the next General Election – here is whyBy John Ross
A lot of purely short term reasons and ‘lessons’ of the Eastleigh by-election are being drawn. None of these are of particular importance. The key reality is that crushing defeat of the Tories is simply part of the trend of Tory electoral decline which I have analysed many times since I published Thatcher and Friends in 1983. This also enables it to be predicted that the Tory Party will get 30.3% of the vote at the next general election. This aim of this article is to explain why.
The continuing decline of the Tory vote from 1931 to 2010 is shown in Figure 1. This demonstrates that while there have been short term oscillations from election to election, which help produce individual Tory victories or defeats, the steady downward trend of support for the Conservative Party is evident. In 1983 when I first showed this it was greeted with widespread scepticism. But 30 years later the continuation of this Tory decline is evident.
Typically the Conservative vote, each time the party won a general election, was lower than at the one it won previously, and each time it lost an election its vote fell to a lower level than the previous defeat.
The result of the Tories at the 2010 election, at 36.1% of the vote, is 5.8% below the level they received the last time they were the largest party. In victories the Conservative vote has fallen progressively from its highest ever level, of 60.7% in 1931, to its post-World War II peak of 49.6% in 1955, to 41.9% the last time it won a majority of seats in an election in 1992.
The decline in the Tory vote can be calculated from a rather simple arithmetic formula. The Tory vote declines at 0.2% a year between defeats and by 0.26% a year between victories. There is a swing factor of slightly under 5% between defeat and victory. That is if the Tories won they would get 34.8% of the vote and if they lose they will get 30.3% of the vote.