VOTES CAST IN U.K. ELECTIONS SINCE 1945
See accompanying post for the table and apologies for the formatting for 2010 and 2015.
Some fascinating material here. Something to pore over for hours, if not weeks with “what if?” musings. A more complete picture would detail seats won and include also European election results.
Just a few points to whet the appetite:
- One central underlying fact to keep in mind is the growth in population, from fifty million in 1951 to sixty three million odd in 2011.
- This makes the second highest ever vote, 13,948, 605, secured by Labour in 1951, even more remarkable . It was an election in which, thanks to the quirks in the first-past-the-post system, they actually lost.
- The highest ever vote, 14,093,007, was for the Tories under John Major in 1992.
- No party since 1945 has polled more than 50%. The closest was in 1955, when the Tories, under Eden, actually received 49.7% of the votes cast. (Labour, in 1945, got 47.7%).
- The first-past-the-post system has severely inhibited the chances of a of a third party – any third party – from challenging the dominance of the Tories and Labour, even when the Liberals and later the LibDems, won twenty percent or more of the votes. The most dramatic example of the quirks were in last year’s election, where UKIP, with almost four million votes, won one seat, while the Scottish Nationalists (admittedly a special case) won 56 seats with less than one and a half million votes while the LibDems, with a million more votes got only 8 seats.
- Support for Thatcher was remarkably consistent across three elections, with 1983 actually the lowest, challenging the Falklands factor theory. Would she have won had Labour not been led by Michael Foot?
- Elections in the New Millennium have shown a marked drop in voter turnout, from above 70% to the mid-60s. Voter apathy, or disillusionment ? The BREXIT turnout was 72%.