POLITICS

Debates, Dementia Tax And Diane Abbott: Voters Reveal What Changed Their Minds In The General Election

Researchers quizzed 1,000 people every day.

02/08/2017 16:21 | Updated 02 August 2017
PA Wire/PA Images

Voters have revealed the top issues that made them change their minds about which party to vote for in the general election.

British Election Study, which examines the result in detail every time the British electorate goes to the polls, surveyed 1,000 randomly-selected people on every day of the 2017 general election campaign, from the day after the local elections on May 5 until the day before the vote on June 8.

Research fellow Chris Prosser shared his findings in ‘word cloud’ format - which highlights the words or terms those surveyed used most frequently in their answers - on Twitter.

They revealed Brexit was the most important issue for most people throughout the entire campaign - matched by terrorism in the wake of the Manchester and London Bridge attacks.

But the reasons people gave for switching their voting intentions differed depending on the timing, with ‘Abbott’ featuring heavily during the early days - presumably after the shadow home secretary struggled with Labour’s figures on policing during a painful LBC interview.

It was replaced as the favourite for a brief period by ‘fox hunting’ after Theresa May revealed she would allow a free vote on repealing the Hunting Act before ‘manifesto’ took hold for a significant number of days - in the wake of Labour’s leaked plans for office.

In the later weeks, social care was raised frequently before being overtaken by ‘debate’ in the final days - when the PM refused to appear alongside other party leaders in a BBC showdown.

Blogging on the study’s findings, Chris said: “Together, these responses paint of a picture of the campaign influenced by a combination of the policies, campaign interviews and (non)appearances made by party leaders, and unforeseen and tragic events.

“Undoubtedly, these things influenced the outcome of the election and resulted in one of the most dramatic polling shifts ever seen over the course of the campaign.

“It is important to remember though, that the vast majority of respondents said that nothing happened during the campaign that changed their view of the parties.

“A small minority may have been influenced by the campaign, but most had made up their minds long before.”

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