Did Jewish Labour voters turn towards the Conservative Party or the Liberal Democrats in 2017?

Last week, I published a blog post showing that North London constituencies bucked the national trend by swinging less heavily towards Labour than might otherwise have been expected. I have since repeated the analysis, looking at changes in votes for the Labour Party, Conservative Party, and Liberal Democrats in the twenty British constituencies with the highest Jewish populations. The findings of that analysis are consistent with the view that many British Jews who had previously voted Labour turned away from the party in response to its continued mishandling of its ongoing antisemitism crisis, but — contrary to some indications that ‘the Tories were likely to take huge swathes of Jewish votes’ — they did not turn towards the Conservative Party. Instead, such voters seem more likely to have voted Liberal Democrat.

2015-2017 changes in vote share for the Labour Party, Conservative Party, and Liberal Democrats in the 20 British constituencies with the highest Jewish populations

The trend away from Labour in areas with high Jewish populations is highly statistically significant, while the trend towards the Liberal Democrats in areas with high Jewish populations is not statistically significant. That doesn’t mean that one is real and the other isn’t. It just means that while there would be less than a one-in-a-thousand chance of getting a result like the trend away from Labour if there were no relationship between the size of the Jewish population and the change in the Labour vote, there would be a nearly one-in-five chance of getting a result like the trend towards the Liberal Democrats even if there were no relationship between the size of the Jewish population and the change in the Liberal Democrat vote. Given the lack of any apparent relationship whatsoever between the size of the Jewish population and the Conservative vote, my interpretation of the analysis is as follows:

  1. Many Jewish voters very probably turned away from the Labour Party between 2015 and 2017
  2. There is no indication that these lost voters voted for the Conservative Party (though some may have on an individual level)
  3. Those voters seem rather more likely to have voted for the Liberal Democrats

In the interests of replicability, I am providing the R code for this analysis in the form of a downloadable notebook. You can download the data in the form of a tab-separated text file (also containing links where you can verify the voting figures).

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