Startling evidence has emerged of the role age played in condemning Labour to its worst election result since 1935.
Figures circulated by Owen Jones show that in Labour’s 1997 landslide the party had a five point lead over the Conservatives among the over 65’s, yet in 2019, exit polls show that had fallen to a 44 point deficit.
Support among those aged 18-24 also paints a telling picture.
Under Tony Blair Labour had a 22 point lead among those aged 18-24, but that is likely to have increased significantly under Jeremy Corbyn.
The Lord Ahscroft exit poll of 13,000 people showed 57 per cent of the youngest voters backed Labour this time around, compared to just 19 per cent who voted Conservative.
The graph shows a near perfect split between the voting intentions of those aged 44 and under and those aged over 45, with allegiances shifting from red to blue considerably among older voters.
Shift in demographics
This appears to be significant against the backdrop of the 2019 general election.
In Workington, a town the Tories modelled their election campaign on, there has been a 14 per cent increase in those aged over 65, and a 28 per cent decrease in people aged 18 to 24.
In other areas that turned blue a similar shift can be seen, as demonstrated in the graph below.
The figures reflect a divide first highlighted in the 2016 referendum on Britain’s membership in the European Union.
Almost three quarters (73 per cent) of 18 to 24-year-olds said they had voted to stay in the EU, compared with 62 per cent of 25 to 34s and 52 per cent of 35 to 44s.
Support for Brexit formed a majority among every other age category and grew with each, peaking at 60 per cent among those aged 65 and over.
Similarly, comparing data from the 2011 Census with the referendum results indicate a pattern, says Rob Ford, professor of political science at the University of Manchester.
It’s “pretty evident” that “places with lots of older voters voted for Brexit while places with more younger voters voted Remain”, he says.
Age is a problem for Labour
While both Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership have both been blamed for Labour’s catastrophic election results, it is clear that age also had a big role to play too.
Large swathes of the right-wing media, namely the Express, the Daily Mail, the Sun and the Daily Telegraph, all have older readerships, and on platforms where Labour performed well the demographics are generally much younger.
Analysis shows Labour won the battle on social media, achieving a far higher organic reach.
The next leader will have to grapple with the unenviable task of wooing back voters outside of that bubble. Which will be no mean feat.