Mark Jenkinson romped home with 49.3 per cent of the vote, knocking Labour’s Sue Hayman into second.
The result represented a stunning 9.7 per cent swing for the Tories, in a seat that has been Labour since 1918, apart from a brief period in the 1970s.
Workington had been a key target for Boris Johnson‘s party, with attracting the ‘Workington man’ seen as crucial to Tory hopes of a majority.
Mark Jenkinson romped home with 49.3 per cent of the vote in Workington, a traditional Labour safe seat
The term is a reference to ‘an older, white, non-graduate man from the north of England with an interest in rugby league and a tendency to vote Labour’.
This demographic, according to a Tory think-tank, was who the PM had to win over to gain a majority.
And the Conservatives delivered emphatically, beating Labour by 4,176 votes.
‘Workington Man’ is the brainchild of Lord O’Shaughnessy, a former Director of Policy for David Cameron, who wrote a report for Onward, a group which was founded by Will Tanner, a former adviser to Theresa May.
The use of voter stereotypes as a targeting tactic dates back to at least Margaret Thatcher’s repeated electoral wins in the 1980s where the working-class ‘Essex man’ switched allegiance from Labour to the Tories.
Voter stereotypes used during previous elections include the 1996 ‘Mondeo man’, the 1997 ‘Worcester woman’, and the 2003 ‘Bacardi Breezer Generation’ of 18 to 25-year-olds, among others.
And this time, the Tory targeting of the Workington Man has paid dividends.