The growing age gap in voting behaviour is one of the most important and striking trends in recent British elections. The old are increasingly Conservative; the young are increasingly Labour. Newly released British Election Study (BES) data from May 2022 shows that despite these patterns, the Conservatives are currently not seen to be looking after the interests of the retired any better than Labour. Surprisingly, retired voters enter the ongoing economic crisis feeling less well represented by either major party than any other social group.
In May 2022, British Election Study (BES) respondents were asked how closely they thought the different political parties ‘look after the interests of’ different groups, on a scale of 0 to 3. Surprisingly, while Labour is seen by far as a party that looks after the interests of ‘young people’, the Conservatives are not seen as better representing the interests of ‘the retired’, where Labour has a modest lead. In fact, the Conservatives are seen as only slightly better at representing the retired than the young, or other traditionally non-Conservative voting demographics, such as black and Asian people.