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UK Insights

Activity in the political echo chamber fails to boost Labour in the polls

Luke Taylor

Head of Social and Political Attitudes

GE 16.05.2017 / 15:30

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A Kantar Public view on the 2017 General Election

This week’s research from Kantar Public sheds light on the extent to which voters live in political echo chambers. Most voters believe that their social circles consist of people who share similar political opinions – three-quarters of Conservative supporters (75%) and two-thirds of Labour supporters (69%) think that their party would win the general election if it was just their friends and family voting.

This echo chamber is even more pronounced in the online world with search engines and social media sites tailoring content deemed relevant to each individual user’s interests and political affiliation. It is quite possible that individuals who are very engaged online – surrounded by people with similar views, and generally only seeing news stories that chime with their own opinions – will be surprised by the outcome of the General Election.

The Labour party is far more active online than its counterparts. For example, on Facebook it has posted more than three times as many articles as the Conservative party, received more than three times as many ‘likes’, and seen these articles shared at more than double the rate. The Liberal Democrats are also less active than the Labour party on both Twitter and Facebook, and far fewer engage with their content than with that posted by Labour. However, this intense online engagement is not translating into vote share. Conservative support is currently on 47% (+3) and they remain significantly ahead of Labour who are on 29% (+1), as well as the Lib Dems on 8% (-3) and UKIP on 6% (-2).

Support for the Labour party remains strongest among those aged 18 to 24 (52% of likely voters of this age group support Labour compared with 23% who support the Conservatives). However, this age group remains the least likely to turn out in the election, with only one in seven (14%) saying they will definitely vote.  The challenge for the Labour party remains how to encourage this age group to vote in the election. With this in mind, Kantar Millward Brown has conducted analysis on how best to communicate and engage with younger voters.

The Conservative party look set to perform even better in the General Election than in the recent local elections. However, it should be noted that while the Conservative party has what appears to be an unassailable lead, Other parties can still narrow the gap as more than one-in-ten (12%) of ‘likely voters’ in the election are still undecided.

It should also be noted that both the Green Party and UKIP are not standing candidates in all constituencies. Not all of their supporters will be able to vote for them on the 8th of June and they are therefore likely to perform less well than our polls currently suggest. These voters are another potential opportunity area for the parties looking to close the gap to the Conservatives.

Source : Kantar Public

Editor's Notes

In order to have a better understanding of electoral trends and movements and to highlight the key factors of confidence and/or uncertainties our electoral research and analyses are based on multiple sources (polls and social media).

Voting intentions reflect the state of the opinion at the moment when the interviews were realised and should therefore not be considered as predictive of the final result of the election.


Download the survey data and further details on the methodological approach here.

1,201 interviews were conducted online among adults living in Great Britain between 11th May 2017 and 15th May 2017. Interviews were conducted using the Kantar TNS Omnibus, which uses the Lightspeed access panel as its sample source.

The data was weighted to match population totals for age, gender, working status, 2015 General Election voting patterns, 2016 EU referendum voting patterns, education, region, and likelihood to vote in the next General Election. Our voting intention figures have been adjusted to take into account likely turnout patterns at the General Election.


Download the social media data and further details on the methodological approach here.

The Facebook analysis is based on the interactions which Facebook users have had with content posted on the official Facebook pages of the main political parties and their leaders between 24th April and 14th May.

The Twitter analysis is based on the “buzz” generated by original tweets authored by the official Twitter accounts of the main political parties and their leaders between 24th April and 14th May.


For more information, please contact us.

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