With 25% of women currently undecided, women’s votes will swing the next general election
Date Posted: Wednesday 25th October 2023
A quarter of women are currently undecided on how they will vote at the next election compared to only 11% of men according to polling conducted by YouGov for the Women’s Budget Group. The polling also found that women with caring responsibilities were more than twice as likely to name childcare or social care as one of their top three priorities than the average voter.
On voting intentions the poll found that
- 25% of women and 11% of men said that they were undecided about how to vote at the next election.
- Labour had a larger lead among women than among men (14 points compared to 11 points).
- Women are as likely to say they will vote Labour as men, but less likely to say they will vote Conservative (17% of women say they will vote Conservative compared to 20% of men).
- Younger women are most likely to vote Labour (44%) with around one in twenty saying they would vote Conservative (4%) and Lib Dem (5%).
- With increasing age, Labour’s lead decreases, with the Conservatives in the lead in over 65s (27%).
- This is in line with a significant shift in women’s voting patterns. Until recently, women were more likely to vote Conservative than men. But each successive generation of women has been more inclined to vote Labour than their predecessors.
On political priorities the poll found:
- Nearly two thirds of women (64%) and just under half of men (48%) named the NHS as a top priority.
- 52% of women and 47% of men named cost of living/inflation as a top priority.
- Women were more likely than men to name the environment and climate change (30% compared to 26%).
- Men were more likely than women to name the economy (44% of men, 28% of women).
- Women are most likely to trust Labour (23%) to improve gender equality, while the Conservatives rank lowest (4%). A significant percentage remains uncertain (33%) or believes no party would be most likely to tackle gender inequality (29%).
Women with caring responsibilities were more likely to prioritise care and education services.
- Women caring for adults are more than twice as likely than the average voter to name social care as one of their top three priorities.
- Women caring for children are more than three times as likely than the average voter to name childcare as one of their top three priorities.
- Over a third of women caring for children (35%) named education as one of their top three priorities, compared to 14% of voters in general.
Dr Zubaida Haque, Deputy Director and Head of Research at the Women’s Budget Group said,
“With an election likely in the next year, parties need to be thinking about what they can offer to secure support from women’s votes. The NHS is a top priority for nearly two thirds of women voters, the cost of living crisis and inflation for over half of women, but education, social care and childcare are also key priorities, particularly for women with care responsibilities.
Women represent over half of eligible voters. The fact that a quarter of women are currently undecided which way to vote should make parties sit up and notice. While the polling data indicate the continuation of a generational trend of women voters moving away from Conservatives and towards Labour, our polling shows that women’s votes are in no way guaranteed and should not be taken for granted by any political party.”
Notes to editors
- The Women’s Budget Group has today published a briefing summarizing the polling data and insights from their fringe events at Conservative and Labour Party Conferences: Not your average voter? How women will shape the general election
- In the UK, traditionally, the ‘women’s vote’ has tended to lean to the right of the political spectrum. In nearly every general election between 1945 – 2015 the Conservative Party gained more votes from women than men. However, there has been shift in recent years, with Labour winning a significantly larger share of votes from women than the Conservatives in both the 2017 and 2019 general elections. See Cooper, C. and Campbell, R. (2023) What women want: Why women will decide the next general election, Labour Together
- For WBG policies on wealth tax and monetary policy, see: Why taxation of wealth is a feminist issue: A gendered analysis of wealth in Britain and Gender and Monetary Policy
WBG spokesperson available for comment, contact:
About the Women’s Budget Group
The UK Women’s Budget Group (WBG) is the UK’s leading feminist economics think tank, providing evidence and analysis on women’s economic position and proposing policy alternatives for a gender-equal economy. We act as a link between academia, the women’s voluntary sector and progressive economic think tanks.