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How lower turnout in LAB seats is a big driver of the “electoral bias” against the Tories

December 9th, 2012

The above is based on data prepared by Professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University and others after the 2010 general election and seeks to show one of the big drivers of “electoral bias”.

The first set of data shows the average electorate in LAB and CON constituencies last time. There is a difference – 72,435 in CON seats to 68,612 in LAB ones but the gap is nothing like as large as is widely perceived.

Just look at the second group – which shows the average aggregate votes cast in CON seats (49,436) compared with 41,842 in LAB ones.

The reason is turnout. The average level in CON seats was 68.4% while in LAB seats it was 61.1%. It is this gap which is behind much of the distortion.

In Labour’s heartlands, where the outcome is not in doubt, far fewer people bother to vote.

If the equal-size constituency move ever gets through the system will still appear biased.

Mike Smithson

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