How you impacted the General Election
By Peter Taylor | 04 October 2017
In the June 2017 snap election, More United supporters backed 49 candidates from 5 different parties - candidates who agreed to stand up for our values in Parliament. Our members voted to support candidates with cash donations via the biggest political crowdfund in UK history, as well as providing thousands of hours of volunteer support. Candidates were backed right across the UK - from Brighton in the South to the most northerly seat in Orkney and Shetland.
Donations to candidates make a big impact to their election campaigns: they’re able to bring forward spending that they had kept in reserve, print more materials, provide more volunteers with supplies - all of which means they reach more people in the constituency. In an election that was called at short notice, rapidly mobilising funds to key seats was a vital ingredient in our impact.
Volunteering was also highly valuable to the prospective MPs. One thing that we heard again and again from potential MPs was their delight at being supported by volunteers and the difference it made at a local level. Many who volunteered to canvas on the doorstep or posted leaflets had never worked for a political campaign before.
Over 3,000 hours of volunteer time was given, with some travelling hundreds of miles and covering many constituencies to give their support in just 35 days.
So what difference did you make?
Well, for a start, 34 of those candidates are now MPs. If we look at the nationwide swing for each party, More United’s candidates outperformed their parties by an average of 4.7%.
In marginal seats where the swing in favour of the successful candidate is just a few percent this can make a crucial difference in winning an election.
But that doesn’t really give us the whole picture - there were big differences between different types of seats so it wouldn’t be right to say that More United was directly responsible for that entire swing.
But if we delve further into the numbers it becomes clear that candidates who received support from More United fared better than their equivalents without.
More United backed candidates across five parties at the election. Being cross-party is vital in breaking down the barriers and enabling MPs to work together in the future. The majority of seats backed were Labour and Liberal democrats. So to dig into the stats further, here is the additional More United swing broken down by the two larger parties:
The Labour candidates More United supported had an average swing of 13.6%, compared with a national average of 9.5% for non-MU candidates. And with the Lib Dem candidates, the average swing was 4.7%, compared with -0.59%.
But of course, More United supported candidates all over the country, with different factors at play in different kinds of seat. Swing varies a lot from constituency to constituency depending on local issues, what kind of campaign the party is running and to what extent they’re targeting their resources in that direction. We need to take these factors into account and see if our findings still hold true.
So let’s go deeper once again. We need to compare our candidates to their equivalents in similar seats so that we can see the impact More United had with greater accuracy.
This means finding groups of seats that are demographically and geographically similar, as well as having similar external influences. That way our analysis can get closer to isolating the impact More United had - and the difference in swing can be more firmly attributed to our efforts.
More United backed several Labour candidates in London and Wales - both areas where the seats within them can be compared - so we've analysed these two groups of seats.
We also backed a number of Lib Dem candidates in London, and across what we would expect were the party’s target seats based on the results of the last two elections (which means they would get a similar level of support from their party). We've analysed these groups too.
Take a look at the swingometers below, which show the amount of swing More United's candidates achieved in each of these groupings, compared with their party average across those seats.
One thing is clear: candidates who received support from More United fared better than those who didn’t.
We can’t prove it beyond doubt, but it is certainly looking very likely that you had a big impact in the result of the election.
In our recent survey you ranked the achievement of getting 34 MPs into Parliament as the most important thing More United has achieved so far. And you highlighted the need to get more MPs to sign up to More United’s values as the most important campaign priority for what the movement does next.
These results demonstrate to MPs just how valuable More United’s support is. Your donations and your time really do help to win elections.
If you’re not currently a More United member sign up here.