In The Times today, Paul Goodman, Editor of ConservativeHome referenced Onward’s Generation Why findings as he discussed why policies to win over Brexit supporters in Labour’s heartlands ignore the younger voters crucial to long-term success.
One of the few pieces of research to probe the matter is buried away in Generation Why? a report from Onward, the modernising Tory think tank, issued this year. It argued that the seminal dividing line in British politics was not now class but age, with older voters leaning towards the Conservatives and younger ones away from them. That claim in itself was not new: what was new, however, was its marginal seats list.
Onward divided this into three categories: “at risk” constituencies, in which the main challenger party is on the verge of overhauling the incumbent one, based on changes to the age profile of the seat; “closing on” constituencies, in which that challenger party is a little further away from doing so; and “gaining on” seats, in which the age trend favours the incumbent party.
Overall, Onward found only two seats “at risk” to the Tories (one Labour, one SNP), but 16 Conservative constituencies at risk to other parties. Of these only one, Telford, was north of Northampton (where the report found both Tory-held seats to be in play). The rest were a slew of London and southern seats, including Chipping Barnet, Harrow East, Putney, Richmond Park, South Swindon and both Milton Keynes constituencies.
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