Young voters could sway Croydon

A voting counts volunteer encouraging youth voting. Pic: Voting Counts

Croydon Central is one of six constituencies where less than 7,000 newly registered voters could rob the Tories of their majority, new analysis by the Bureau Local can reveal.

In the Conservative-held seat, which is the fourth most marginal constituency in the country, there are 1880 newly registered voters, who have the power to overturn the slim majority from 2015 of just 165 votes.

Tory MP Gavin Barwell will be hoping to hold off Labour’s Sarah Jones after he only just managed to cling on in 2015. He received 22,753 votes while Labour’s Sarah Jones got 22,588, with UKIP coming in third place.

There are 19 constituencies in England and Wales where 50,000 new voters have the power to swing their seat. The other seats where there are more newly registered voters than the existing Conservative majorities are Derby North, Turrock, Twickenham, Plymouth Sutton & Devonport and Crewe & Nantwich.

There are some 10 times more newly registered voters than the winning margin in 2015, meaning that new voters in Croydon Central have more power than the vast majority of other seats. Only in Ynys Mon in Wales and Chester is the difference greater.

The constituencies are identified from a new election model that uses data from the Office of National Statistics, the Cabinet Office and the British Election Study.

Another group of voters that could be crucial in the result in Croydon are former UKIP voters. There are 4810 voters who backed UKIP at the last election, some of whom could choose the Conservatives this time around, according to polling.

The seat is divided on Brexit after a 50-50 split during last year’s EU referendum. Although Jones originally campaigned for Remain, the fact she voted with the government to trigger article 50 could appeal to Leave voters.

UKIP are standing a candidate in Croydon Central, which is not the case in much of the country. The Bureau Local estimate that there are 1,222,508 ‘homeless’ former UKIP voters in 207 constituencies in England and Wales where the party is not standing this time around.

In 61 of those 207 constituencies, the UKIP vote share was greater than the marginality in 2015 – meaning that these former UKIP supporters will have the chance to decide these seats.

There are an estimated 950,000 more registrations than in 2015. According to data on the government website, people aged 18-24 and 24-35 have consistently been the most prominent groups in registration applications.

Analysis by The Bureau Local has found men and women aged 35-50 with a degree qualification to be the most powerful group in Croydon Central in terms of how many register and turn out to vote.

On the other hand those aged 18-24 without A Levels or equivalent qualifications are the least likely to register to vote in the seat.

Turnout in Croydon Central in 2015 was similar to the national average 67.7 per cent.

There has been a drive to get young people to register after only around 43 per cent turned out in 2015. With younger people polling much higher with Labour, those among the registered voters are likely to decide the result in the Labour-Tory battleground by how many turnout in polling day.

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