A new study of Labour’s defeat in the general election has concluded that the party did not lose the election because Ed Miliband’s position was too left wing, as was suggested after his defeat.
Professors Jane Green and Chris Prosser, of the University of Manchester and the British Election Study, argue that Labour’s vote share would not be harmed if it moved to the left, but it would be if the party moved to the right.
In Juncture, the journal for the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), they said:
Generally, our data shows that people were more likely to vote Labour in 2015 when they thought the party was more left-wing, and less likely to vote Labour when they thought it was centrist.
(Picture: British Election Study)
The idea that [either a left wing or right wing] route can be chosen is based on a false premise. It is also based on an outdated view of the electorate. When parties only lose votes (and seats) at the centre, it makes sense that elections are only won at the centre. But when fringe parties compete – when competition is between multiple parties on the right and the left – the picture is far more complex.
The study also found that Ed Miliband was unlikely to win, no matter where he placed Labour in terms of left and right.
The study suggests that that the main factor in Labour's defeat was the economic crash of 2008 which appeared to fundamentally change voters’ perceptions on whether the party could be trusted with the economy.