Trends in Not Voting

Julian Ware-Lane (a Labour General Election Candidate) has published on his blog some interesting numbers for changes in voting behaviour over the last 80 years. Graphically they are sobering for the two main parties and worrying for all of us.

Voting at UK General Elections

Voting at UK General Elections (percentages as percentage of registered electorate)

Two trends are very obvious:

  • The drop in combined support for the two old parties
  • The increasing number of non-voters

I would also note that with the exception of the last parliament and war-time National Governments we have had governments who have not had a popular majority (although ’45 and ’55 were close).

The other trend that is not immediately obvious is the fragmentation of the “others” category as Nationalists have won seats. In the forthcoming election a few Greens and UKIPpers may accelerate this trend. This makes coalition forming more difficult (where previously the 1st and 3rd place parties combined could claim a majority).

It will be interesting to see the level of non-voting in next week’s election. It may well increase reflecting the general disenchantment with politics and the growing number who realise that, unless they live in a marginal seat, their vote makes no difference.

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  • […] will suit about a 1/3rd of the people at each election and mean near permanent exclusion of the 1/3 who do not vote for the two major parties. Even if we adopted a preferential voting system (such as for the London Mayor), all that we would […]

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