More than half of Tories back the death penalty as punishment for serious crimes, according to a major new study.
Academics have branded Conservatives a ‘breed apart’ from everyone else, after research uncovered huge differences between the party’s supporters and the views of Labour, Lib Dem and SNP backers.
Tories are also the most disillusioned about how they are treated by the leadership, according to the study Grassroots: Britain’s Party Members, which has been published by the Mile End Institute at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).
Tim Bale, Professor of Politics at QMUL, said: ‘Britain’s party members are the lifeblood and the footsoldiers of our democracy. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they look like or think like their parties’ voters – or, indeed, look or think like each other.
‘The Tory grassroots in particular are something of a breed apart from their Labour, Lib Dem and SNP counterparts.’
Polling conducted by YouGov found that 54% of Tory members are in favour of the death penalty, compared to 23% of SNP supporters, 9% of Labour members, and 8% of Lib Dem backers.
Some 84% of Conservatives believe schools should teach children to obey authority – but only 38% of Lib Dem and SNP members backed this idea, and just 31% of Labour members.
Only four in 10 support same-sex marriage, while with the other parties this figure is at least eight out of 10.
And only one in 10 Tories believes that austerity has gone too far – compared to 98% of Labour members, 93% of SNP supporters and 75% of Lib Dem supporters.
On Brexit, nine out of 10 members of the other parties want the UK to remain in the single market, but only a quarter of Tories support that option.
Just 28% of Conservatives believe they have a significant say on policy compared to three quarters of Lib Dems and SNP members and 61% of Labour members, and were less likely to have stepped up campaigning for their party during recent elections.
In fact, Tories ‘did less on almost every count than their counterparts in other parties’ to help their party during the election, and the difference was ‘particularly marked’ for use of social media, the report said.
‘That said, the Tories can take some comfort from the fact that they were, to all intents and purposes, on a par with Labour when it came to canvassing and reminding voters to vote, as well as when it came to delivering leaflets,’ it added.
‘The Lib Dems will be glad to know that they are still very much the top dogs when it comes to pushing leaflets through our letterboxes.’
YouGov surveyed 4,117 members of the four parties shortly after the 2017 general election.