Articles
Pages
Products
Research Papers
Blogs
Search Engines
Events
Webinar, Seminar, Live Classes
Wednesday, 17 January 2018 05:04

Using the internet makes people more likely to vote Labour, research shows

By: 

People who used the internet to get political news before the General Election were more likely to vote Labour, but people with a higher level of political knowledge were more likely to vote Conservative, according to new research on the dynamics of the 2017 vote.

Professors Harold Clarke, Matt Goodwin, Paul Whiteley and Marianne Stewart, election experts from the UK and the US, were commissioned by the BBC to analyze how online activity helped the Labour Party.

They found that, across the electorate and all age groups, “those who used the internet to get news about the general election were far more likely to have voted Labour”, while “those who used the internet less often to gather political news and information were much more likely to vote Conservative”.

Of those who used the internet “a great deal” to gather news about the general election, 61 percent voted for Labour and 21 percent voted Conservative. Conversely, 56 percent who said they used the internet “not at all” voted Conservative and 30 percent voted for Labour.

The researchers found this trend was true even after factors such as age, gender, social class, party identification, how people voted in the referendum and levels of education were taken into account. The internet election The researchers said: “The 2017 general election was the moment when the internet finally delivered on its long-awaited promise of having a big effect, both on how individual people voted and the overall outcome of the election.

“A flood of young voters, many of whom had relatively low levels of political knowledge, used the internet to get news about the general election. This was crucial for boosting support for Labour and Jeremy Corbyn, according to new research on the dynamics of the 2017 vote. “In recent years, there has been talk about the power of the internet to affect elections. Ahead of the 2017 general election, some pointed to a growth of pro-Labour websites and online forums as a potentially powerful weapon in Labour’s arsenal.”

“In recent years, there has been talked about the power of the internet to affect elections. Ahead of the 2017 general election, some pointed to a growth of pro-Labour websites and online forums as a potentially powerful weapon in Labour’s arsenal.” They added: “Turnout among people aged 18-29 was up by an estimated 19% on the previous general election in 2015.

“Our data show that both the decision to vote and the choices these young people made at the polls were associated with the volume of news about the election that they consumed online.”

Political knowledge makes people more likely to vote Conservative

The researchers also tested respondents’ political knowledge asking them to verify eight statements, such as “The minimum voting age for UK general elections is now 16 years of age”, “The chancellor of the Exchequer is responsible for setting interest rates in the UK”, and “The unemployment rate in the UK is currently less than 5 percent”.

The found that voters’ understanding of politics affected how they voted.

“If survey respondents were frequent internet users but did not know much about politics they tended to vote Labour,” the researchers said. “In contrast, if they weren’t internet savvy but knew a fair bit about politics, they tended to vote Conservative.”

“If survey respondents were frequent internet users but did not know much about politics they tended to vote Labour,” the researchers said. “In contrast, if they weren’t internet savvy but knew a fair bit about politics, they tended to vote Conservative.”

“These effects held across all age groups for both Labour and the Conservatives, with the exception of pensioners in the case of the Tories.

“This means that those effects weren’t caused by the age of the respondent, which at first sight is the obvious explanation for differences in internet usage among the voters.”              

Voters’ views on party leaders were strongly affected by internet use and political knowledge, the research found.

“Even after we take account of a whole host of other things, like age and income, people with low political knowledge who used the internet to get their election news tended to like Jeremy Corbyn and dislike Theresa May,” they said.

“For example, among those who said they used the internet “a great deal”, the average score for Jeremy Corbyn on a 0 (“really dislike”) to 10 (“really like”) scale is 6.4, whereas among those who said they did not use the internet at all, his average score is much lower, only 3.4.

“The pattern for Theresa May is the opposite: her average score among those who used the internet a great deal is 2.9, whereas, among those who did not use the net, her average is considerably higher, at 5.3.”

Of the 25 most-shared web articles about the UK election, almost all were in support of Labour and Jeremy Corbyn, separate research conducted in June by the web analytics company Kaleida found.

Source: This article was published inews.co.uk By Pascale Hughes

Leave a comment

Get Exclusive Research Tips in Your Inbox

Receive Great tips via email, enter your email to Subscribe.
Please wait
online research banner

airs logo

AIRS is the world's leading community for the Internet Research Specialist and provide a Unified Platform that delivers, Education, Training and Certification for Online Research.

Subscribe to AIRS Newsletter

Receive Great tips via email, enter your email to Subscribe.
Please wait

Follow Us on Social Media