Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The cult of the 24-year-old female ballot paper

Jeff has a post expressing his surprise at the breakdowns from the latest YouGov Scottish survey, which show that the older you are, the more likely it is that you vote SNP. In fact, although this is a reversal of the historical position, it's a pattern that has been consistently picked up by YouGov for several years now. My guess is that it can be largely explained by former traditional Labour voters realising that, in the words of Ronald Reagan, their party has simply "left them". The trend led Nicol Stephen to observe in one of the 2007 televised leaders' debates "all the polling evidence is that the SNP's voters are mainly men, mainly older people", to which Alex Salmond retorted as quick as a flash "so you don't want those votes, then?". Well, quite. There may be an irrational perception that some votes are sexier than others, but when they come to be counted, everybody's equal. There's no such thing as a middle-income, 24-year old female graduate ballot paper. In truth, the only sense in which some voters are 'more equal than others' is that polls also consistently show that older people are much more likely to turn out to vote - a potential advantage for the SNP.


  1. I think Jeff's argument is very central belt orientated James. Further north, in the old tory heartlands, the 55+ age group who have voted tory all their lives still vote tory.

    I agree with you that any SNP voters are ex-labour voters disillusioned with labour's performance and also that the over 55s are far more likely to vote.

  2. Tory or SNP, Subrosa. SNP support in what used to be called Banffshire is far more visible than anywhere other party. (I reckon the Tories keep it schtum).