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Social Values Chapter for UKICE

I was glad to see my work with Edmund Kelly (DPhil candidate at Oxford) published on UK in a Changing Europe's ‘The State of Public Opinion 2023’ report. The chapter on Social Values can be read alongside other contributions by academics and experts here. Ed and I drew on British Election Study data to look at the realignment of the British electorate along the liberal-authoritarian axis in the 2015-2019, a realignment super-charged by Brexit - which polarised almost entirely on social values - and that was ‘layered’ on top of the traditional left-right divide, rather than simply supplanting it. Since 2019, we observe neither a continuation nor a reversal of realignment, but rather "a pause". As Labour become more popular across-the-board, their electorate becomes broader and closer to the centre of gravity of British politics; as the Conservative lose support, their base shrinks to its most ideologically distinctive base. Crucially, the average 2019 Tory voter who has since left the party is just as authoritarian as a Conservative loyalist. This is also true of the juicy "Conservative-to-DK" group of voters, which makes up for 9-10% of our 2023 BES sample. The Conservative coalition is fraying primarily to its economic left.

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