Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The constituency of Newark

Newark has relatively large proportions of households which lean to the Conservatives but are also attracted by UKIP. Rural communities, older residents, retirees, empty nesters, self-employed trades people living in smaller communities, well-off older residents, commuters living in semi-rural settings; they all make up larger proportions of the constituency than elsewhere in the UK. They don't vote Labour, or at least they haven't since 1997. Most have voted Conservative, some have voted LibDem and a smaller but growing proportion have voted UKIP.

On the other hand there are large proportions of blue collar households, which have typically voted Labour but more recently have shown a tendency to get behind UKIP.

The chart below shows the demographic profile of Newark. Each of the coloured bars represents a demographic group and the proportion of households they make up in Newark. The hollow bars show the proportion of these demographic groups in the whole of the UK.

Just so you can compare and contrast these numbers here are the charts for Eastleigh, Rotherham and South Shields, three by-elections carried out since the 2010 general election where UKIP have done well.

Now you are going to want to know who these demographic groups are, particularly the important ones. Newark looks very much like Rotherham and South Shields in the I43 to K50 groups. These are the descriptions of those groups:

I43 Older town centres terraces with transient, single populations
I44 Low income families occupying poor quality older terraces
J45 Low income communities reliant on low skill industrial jobs
J46 Residents in blue collar communities revitalised by commuters
J47 Comfortably off industrial workers owning their own homes
K48 Middle aged couples and families in right-to-buy homes
K49 Low income older couples long established in former council estates
K50 Older families in low value housing in traditional industrial areas

You might think these are atypical UKIP voters. You are right in one sense, because many of these voters vote for Labour, with the exception of J46s who vote Conservative or UKIP typically. However in the last three general elections Labour has lost these voters as they became disillusioned with New Labour. In more recent times these demographic groups have either stopped voting altogether (their turnout record is generally poor) or turned to UKIP as a means to epxress their dissatisfaction. In addition there are only small proportions of core Labour voters in Newark (the groups from N60 to O69). These groups are described as follows:

N60 Tenants in social housing flats on estates at risk of serious social problems
N61 Childless tenants in social housing flats with modest social needs
N62 Young renters in flats with a cosmopolitan mix
N63 Multicultural tenants renting flats in areas of social housing
N64 Diverse home sharers renting small flats in densely populated areas
N65 Young singles in multi-ethnic communities, many in high rise flats
N66 Childless, low income tenants in high rise flats
O67 Older tenants on low rise social housing estates where jobs are scarce
O68 Families with varied structures living on low rise social housing estates
O69 Vulnerable young parents needing substantial state support

These groups are represented in very small numbers in Newark and even those households have very poor turnout records.

Finally there are the demographic groups at the left of the charts, which are described as follows:

A1 Rural families with high incomes, often from city jobs
A2 Retirees electing to settle in environmentally attractive localities
A3 Remote communities with poor access to public and commercial services
A4 Villagers with few well paid alternatives to agricultural employment
B5 Better off empty nesters in low density estates on town fringes
B6 Self-employed trades people living in smaller communities
B7 Empty nester owner occupiers making little use of public services
B8 Mixed communities with many single people in the centres of small towns
D13 Higher income older champions of village communities
D14 Older people living in large houses in mature suburbs
D15 Well off commuters living in spacious houses in semi-rural settings
D16 Higher income families concerned with education and careers

As you might guess all of these groups lean towards the Conservatives, and all are over-represented in the constituency. These voters also have excellent turnout records. There is hope for the Liberal Democrats here too because a good proportion of these voters have voted for them in the last two general elections. UKIP will hope to draw these voters away from the Conservatives.

Finally here is the map showing the zones of the constituency which favour UKIP. This map shows the 'balance' of each zone, and is based on demographic composition, previous voting behaviour and self-reported political affiliation.

On May 22nd the East Midlands went to the polls in the European Elections. The maps below show the distribution of vote share for the Conservatives and UKIP. The underlying coloured zones are counting areas, typically local authorities. I have overlaid the boundaries of parliamentary constituencies on the map and highlighted the constituency of Newark.

First, UKIP vote share in the East Midlands:

Second, Conservative vote share in the East Midlands:

Third, I have put together a map showing the lead [or not] of UKIP over the Conservatives in the East Midlands counting areas, again overlaid with the parliamentary constituencies:

Fourth, I have the maps showing the results of the 2011 local election in wards within Newark (by winning party):

Fifth, I have the maps showing the results of the 2013 Nottinghamshire county elections in wards within Newark. The following map shows the lead of the Conservatives over UKIP in those wards. UKIP did not stand a candidate in the north of the constituency.


  1. Points to an easy Tory win, depending on how things go over the next couple of weeks

  2. I really don't think so, i can see the Kip throwing their kitchen sink at it on the basis that they really don't care one way or the other, a small dip here will not seriously impact on their national Mo from the Euro win. They start from next to nothing and will contest at worst for 2nd place while the Dims will be keeping their heads down in the hope that nobody asks them whether Clegg is on his way, The Tories can only lose, their madge will fall dramatically even if they win. Ed's boys will not want to make a big show in case they don't win, this is the classic case of the Englishman who will not run for the train in case he misses it and then perceives himself to be looking a fool, it is all about fear.

    The Tories probably will win despite their local man resigning in disgrace, bit of a Chris Huehne job there, but I think the contest will be far closer than the current madge would suggest, with a pretty poor turn out.