The 2017 Election: New divides in British politics?


Theresa May precipitated the 2017 general election in order to secure a mandate for her vision of Brexit. But did the way that people voted reflect their views about Brexit?

This chapter shows that to some extent they did, and that, as a result, whether someone is a ‘libertarian’ or an ‘authoritarian’ now has a considerable bearing on whether they are likely to vote Labour or Conservative, alongside the more traditional ‘left-right’ division in Labour and Conservative support.

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Between the 2015 and the 2017 elections, a much deeper divide opened up to separate libertarian and authoritarian voters’ support for the Conservatives and Labour.

Labour and Conservative vote choice, by libertarian-authoritarian position, 2001-2017

Chart - voting by ideological position

Authors: John Curtice, Senior Research Fellow, The National Centre for Social Research, and Professor of Politics, University of Strathclyde; Ian Simpson, Senior Researcher and Co-Director of the British Social Attitudes series, The National Centre for Social Research

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