Can Gord do anything about the oldies?

Can Gord do anything about the oldies?


    Should appealing to this group be Priority Number One?

Earlier in the year it was estimated that the average age of those who would probably vote at the next general election was 58 and commentators like Jackie Ashley in the Guardian were suggesting that Labour ought to do much more with the older age groups which are now being joined by the baby boomers.

And there are three key factors about this group:

  • People are living longer so the proportion of oldies in the population is increasing all the time
  • Oldies are much more likely to turn out and vote
  • Oldies are much more likely to vote Tory. Indeed the latest Populus poll has two over 65 Tory voters to every one for Labour.
  • Add onto that the findings of a question that we are likely to see much more of in the run up to the general election – Is your mind made up or could you change your mind? and you see just how critical a voting block older people are.

    Reproduced above is the detail from the survey which shows that the older you are the more likely it is that you will stick with your voting preference.

    Whenever I single out data like this people say that the numbers are small and sub-sets can be highly unrepresentative. I buy that totally and we need to monitor this closely to see if other polls also reflect the same trend.

      But the core proposition remains – that oldies are much more likely to vote and when they do they are more likely to vote Conservative – has been a consistent finding over dozens of surveys from a range of pollsters

    So what should Labour do? In three weeks time the national bus pass scheme is introduced which will allow free off-peak bus travel to the over 60s wherever they are. The great plus of the scheme is that unlike current provisions you can use the pass anywhere in England.

    Maybe this is a chance for Labour to claw back oldie support? Retaining power at the general election could depend on it.

    Mike Smithson

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