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Traditional support for Labour among low-income voters ‘in decline’

Voters on low incomes are becoming “politically homeless”, according to latest research.

Labour’s traditional bedrock support among low-income voters appears to be in decline, according to a new survey.

Polling for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation thinktank found that just 30% of those in low-income households back Jeremy Corbyn’s party, against 23% for Conservatives and almost a quarter (24%) who do not support any political party.

The thinktank said the results showed low-income voters were becoming “politically homeless” and highlighted the need for parties to address their key concerns of money and debt, health and housing, rather than focusing their efforts on Brexit.

The survey found that money or debt was the most common concern for people in the lowest income group (45%), followed by physical health (38%), caring responsibilities (30%), housing (30%), immigration (30%) and work or finding a job (28%).

While the Tories had double the level of backing (46%) among the richest voters than among the poorest (23%), Labour’s support was fairly evenly spread, with 30% among the poorest fifth, rising to 32% among middle income households and 27% among the richest.

“Support for Labour is now evenly spread across the income distribution – suggesting its historic link to people on low incomes is in decline,” said the thinktank.

Nearly two thirds (65%) of those questioned said government was responsible for reducing income differences between the rich and poor.

But fewer than half (42%) thought it should redistribute income from the better-off to the less well-off.

The public were split on whether taxes should rise to spend more money on health, education and benefits (48% to 44%).

:: JRF commissioned the National Centre for Social Research to add new questions and analysis to their annual 2016 British Social Attitudes survey of 2,941 British adults.

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