PinkNews.co.uk, Europe’s largest gay news publisher has been tracking the voting intentions of a sample group of almost 1,000 LGBT(lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) people since March and comparing it to a similar exercise in the lead-up to the European Elections. In June 2009, 39% of the gay community said they intended to vote Conservative at the next general election, today the percentage has dropped to 9%, a 77% reduction in the original level of support. A further self selecting survey of PinkNews.co.uk readers saw support drop to 10%.
A group of 911 LGBT people, weighted demographically and geographically have been informing PinkNews.co.uk of their voting intentions since March 2010 as well as their votes in the 2005 general election. Support for the Conservative Party has fallen from 17% in 2005 to 9% today. Labour support has dropped from 29% in 2005 and in the 2009 poll to 21% today. Liberal Democrat support has increased from 20% to 58%. The Green Party have dropped from 10% in 2005 to 8% today, although a self-selecting poll for PinkNews.co.uk found support has risen to 16%. The SNP have 2% support, up 1% on 2005 and our last poll.
The Conservative Party’s standing within the LGBT community has been damaged by secretly recorded comments by the shadow home secretary Chris Grayling where he suggested that bed and breakfast owners should have the right to ban gay couples. Although he gave an apology of sorts, it was then followed by comments made by shadow defence minister Dr Julian Lewis who said an equal age of consent has led to an HIV risk. David Cameron refused to sack Dr Lewis or Mr Grayling.
Among those under the age of 23 and therefore too young to have voted at the last election, support for the Conservative Party has fallen from 40% in March 2010 to 20% this weekend but they are still the second most popular party among young people. Support for the Liberal Democrats has risen from 32% to 61%. Labour have risen from 8% to 10%, the Green Party have fallen from 15% to 7%.
The decline in support for the Conservative Party, particularly among PinkNews.co.uk readers will be embarrassing for David Cameron as he has made a number of efforts to reach out to the gay community over the past month. Earlier in the month, he wrote on PinkNews.co.uk: “We are totally committed to the fight for gay rights and there will be absolutely no going back on equality legislation if a Conservative government is elected next month.” Mr Cameron pledged to introduce legislative changes so that convictions for historic gay sex offences would no longer appear on criminal records and introduce a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to homophobic bullying in schools. 74% of readers said that they did not believe him. Little over half of those that said they’d vote Conservative said they believed him.
49% of gay voters said they’d like Nick Clegg to become prime minister, up from 28% at the start of April, 20% Gordon Brown down 9% on our last poll, and 19% David Cameron down 1% on the start of the month, 6% down since March.
50% of voters said economic policy would be the most important consideration when selecting a party, 23% LGBT rights record, 6% the NHS, 6% foreign policy, 5% education policy, 5% immigration, 3% performance in the Leaders’ Debates, 2% crime. A self selecting poll of an additional 383 people found a similar ranking.
Asked who they’d wish to see leading the Labour Party, 29% said David Miliband, 14% Alan Johnson, 10% Harriet Harman, 8% Gordon Brown and 8% Lord Mandelson.
The Green Party with 14 manifesto commitments on LGBT issues were considered the most LGBT friendly party with 39% support, 28% Liberal Democrats, 21% Labour, 9% Conservative, 3% SNP, 1% Plaid Cymru.