Mark Gill on the private/public sector worker divide?

Mark Gill on the private/public sector worker divide?

(Mike Smithson is on holiday for the next 11 days and one of the features on PB during his absence is a series of articles by Mark Gill – former head of political research at Ipsos-MORI and co-author with Bob Worcester, Roger Mortimore, Paul Baines of Explaining Cameron’s Coalition)

Does Labour’s lead amongst the latter matter?

Labour are way more popular among public sector workers, but how much does this matter?

One of the benefits of the detailed data tables produced by the polling firms is that it allows us to analyse the views of different segments of the public. Given the scale of the cuts to the public sector and the potential for future massive public sector strikes, analysing VI data by which sector people work in is informative.

Labour thrash the Tories among public sector workers. According to analysis of Ipsos MORI data, more than half (52%) of public sector workers intend to vote Labour in a general election – way ahead of the 21% support for the Conservatives and the 14% for the LibDems. And Labour’s lead among this group has increased over the year – a 5.5% Con-Lab swing since June-Sep last year.(*)

However, this also serves to remind us that the Tories have never been particularly popular among the public sector and winning this group is unlikely to be a requirement for Tory electoral success.

Among those working in the private sector, 40% intend to vote Conservative, 4 points more than the 36% supporting Labour. And crucially, over the year, support for the Conservatives among private sector workers hasn’t shifted. Labour’s gains (up 4) have been at the expense of the LibDems (down 6).

And of course, even though the public sector may be much more vocal in the media; for every one public sector voter there is at least another three who work in the private sector.

(*) Footnote – in conducting this analysis we have combined data from 3 waves of Ipsos MORI’s Political Monitor (Jun-Sep 2010 and Apr-Jun 2011) to provide a more statistically robust base for comparison.

Public sector Private sector
June – Sept 2010    
Con 26% 40%
Lab 46% 32%
LD 20% 16%
Oct – Dec 2010    
Con 24% 44%
Lab 53% 29%
LD 14% 12%
Jan – Mar 2011    
Con 24% 43%
Lab 52% 34%
LD 13% 12%
Apr – May 2011    
Con 23% 41%
Lab 50% 36%
LD 14% 9%
Con -3% 1%
Lab 4% 4%
LD -6% -5%
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