Thursday, November 01, 2018

The BMG's "Values and Identity" clans of British society in 2018

The BMG research group and the independent have done some research aimed at analysing how and why people vote based on their values and identity rather than class.

They have divided the UK electorate into ten "Values and Identity clans" who have similar attitudes.

This isn't going to be a perfect predictor of voting behaviour any more than social class is - so far I judge it as "interesting but flawed."

Their ten groups of voters are described as follows (and you an see at once the bias of the people doing it that they have included positive expressions like "common sense" in the titles of certain groups whose policies some of us would consider to be characterised by anything but.)

1) "Bastions of Tradition and the Individual"
(who tend to have a small "c" attitude on social issues and support British institutions)

2) "Global Green Community"
(who tend to have socialist attitudes to the economy and liberal views on social issues)

3) "Proud and Patriotic state"
(tending to favour redistribution of wealth, nationalisation of key industries and with a strong dislike of multiculturalism and freedom of movement.)

4) "Orange Book"
(Right of centre on the economy but socially liberal)

5) "Common Sense Solidarity"
(e.g. mainstream left, support nationalisation, trade unions, the redistribution of wealth by taxation, different to the "Proud and Patriotic state" group because their views on social issues are slightly to the left of liberal Conservatives like me rather than well to the right.)

6) Notting Hill society
(The name is an apparent reference to David Cameron style Conservatives but in my humble opinion that is a misnomer because the description given by BMG - "pro-business with traditional views on family life" really describes a more old-fashioned type of Conservative than DC or most of the Cameroons that I know, and refers to traditional Tory centrists. The actual Notting Hill set would tend to come out on this analysis as Orange Bookers, as I did myself.)

7) "Strength, Agreeable and Respect"
(Quote, "A tendency to favour authority and discipline including human rights and the justice system," which is an unfortunately unclear description in that the reference to human rights and the justice system could mean several different and diametrically opposed things.)

8) "Modern Working Life"
("Strong believers in hard work, social responsibility and that the state isn't responsible for well-being." I'm not quite sure how they differentiate this group from groups 4) and 6) as I would have expected something close to 100% of those groups to strongly agree with all of that.)

9) "The measured middle"
(Balanced social views while believing that more needs to be done to achieve gender and LGBT equality.)

10) "Apathy"
(Disengaged, disinterested and without strong views)

There is an article in the Independent about this analysis here, you can take the test to see how they would classify you here, and there is a Political Betting thread debating the issue here.

A couple of comments

* As I implied in my descriptions of some of their categories, I think there is a degree of bias showing in some of the titles and that some of the broadly "left-wing" clans are more clearly defined and rationally organised than most of the broadly "right-wing" ones.

* Some of the categories are too broad - particularly the "Orange Bookers" - and some of the boundaries, such as that between the Orange Bookers and the Notting Hill category, are very poorly defined.

Far and away the most comment classification among the Political Betting regulars who took the test appears to have been Orange Booker - which is also how I came out - and these included strong Conservative, Lib/Dem and Labour activists and supporters. Which suggests either that this approach is not as good a means of evaluating voting behaviour as its creators hoped or that they have not got the boundaries of the groups right.

I would be very interested to hear from anyone who takes the test - please leave a comment and tell me how accurate you think it is as a description of your actual position. I'm not going to block anonymous comments on this post but it would be far more interesting if you share where you are coming from.

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