Are marriage supporters more likely to be voters?

Are marriage supporters more likely to be voters?

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    Could this be an election battleground?

Listening to Radio Four’s “Any Questions” while driving home from Burgundy on Saturday I was very struck by the way the Tory approach to marriage which has come out of the Iain Duncan Smith Social Justice Commission seemed to be resonating with the audience. This is backed up by the other part of the latest ICM poll – the results of which are featured in the Daily Telegraph this morning and reproduced above.

One of the problems with non-voting intention questions in polls like this is that what we see are responses from everybody whether they intend to vote or not. I am sure that if you applied the “intention to vote” filter that ICM use to calculate headline voting figures then the above findings would be even more pronounced.

    And for those who try to predict and bet on elections the views of non-voters on any issue are almost totally irrelevant.

ICM found a sharp age divide on the issue. A total of 80% of the over-55s were supportive of the institution of marriage compared 55% in the 35-54 age group, 48% in the 25-34 group, and just 35% of the 18-24 year olds.

Just compare that profile with these figures taken from the ICM poll published eight days ago on certainty to vote. Respondents are asked to assess their likelihood on a scale of 1-10 and the results show a much higher level amongst those who are female, older and in higher social groups. So voters are likely to be more supportive than non-voters.

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So if the Tories do make this into an issue to differentiate themselves from the other parties we need to see what voters think – not non-voters. With turnout levels of barely 60% this distinction could be critical.

A word of thanks to Paul Maggs.
Paul did a great job last week standing in for me while I was on holiday – a period of intense political developments. I’m hoping that he’ll be able to do the acting job on a regular basis.

Mike Smithson

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