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Data Analytics Reveal How Age Swung the UK Election

The recent election in the United Kingdom yielded a dramatic and unexpected result, and discussions are underway on how the minority government will proceed to tackle hot button issues like Brexit. Using publicly available data from YouGov and, we zeroed in and visualized the real story from the election: age. 

In fact, both the increase in the youth turnout and the shifting crossover age of voters played a major role in delivering the surprise result in 2017.

float centerFig 1: This dashboard shows how voting patterns shifted in 2017. First, the youth vote increased substantially. Second, the ‘crossover’ age where the vote typically shifts to Conservative moved from 34 to 49.

Young voters, who were once deemed largely apathetic to the political agenda, were mobilized in record numbers to attend the polls. The jump in youth voting caused many constituencies to swing from a Conservative to Labour majority. The data also revealed that the crossover age at which voters switched has changed from 34 years old in 2015 to 49 years old in 2017.

Taking an even closer look, the dashboards below visualize where Plymouth is divided into ‘Labour’ and ‘Conservative’ areas, and which areas will tip towards Labour if the youth turnout rises.

float centerFig. 2: In this dashboard, you can see that Plymouth is clearly divided into Labour and Conservative areas. Based on the YouGov predictions, the base vote will return a Conservative result.

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Fig. 3: When applying simulated turnouts to the map of Plymouth, this shows which areas will tip towards Labour if the youth turnout rises. This tells campaigners where to focus their efforts.

By layering different datasets like population estimates, turnout, and voting intention by age group, MicroStrategy was able to gain fascinating insights into the outcome of the election. Just as in the enterprise, data analytics can be used to create and inform political campaign strategies in the lead up to a major event like an election. Campaigners can visualize areas within their constituencies, focus their tactics to effectively influence voting habits, and make decisions quickly—all while remaining agile as the political agenda changes.

Want to learn more about how data visualization can be used to draw insight from public information? Check out our white paper on the digital transformation of municipal government.

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