Housing and homeownership will be centre stage at the next general election

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Economic and political turmoil means old electoral certainties are fading and housing is likely to play a key role, writes Paul Hackett

It’s traditionally about this point in the electoral cycle when the hunt begins for the archetypal swing voter capable of deciding the next general election. In 1997 Tony Blair’s New Labour targeted “Mondeo Man” to regain traditional Labour voters from the Conservatives. Securing the vote of “Workington Man” was instrumental in Boris Johnson’s landslide victory in 2019.

And now Labour appears to be targeting “Harrow Man or Woman” in a bid to return to power for the first time since 2010. But the conventional wisdom around the next general election is that it will be fought not at the margins of the electorate where swing voters are crucial, but at the centre. Established voting divides – young vs old, urban vs rural, homeowners vs renters – may fade given the extent of recent political and economic turmoil. And that gives rise to the prospect that housing – and, in particular, homeownership – could become a more important electoral battleground than usual.

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