Fifth of Brits will opt for ‘lesser evil’ and vote tactically on 8 June

A fifth of British voters will be voting tactically next Thursday, a survey by the Electoral Reform Society has today stated.

Voters were asked about their intentions when heading for the polls next week, and 20% stated that they will vote for a candidate or party who are positioned to keep out someone they disliked.

This compares to 58% of people who said they will vote for their first-choice candidate or party.

The figure was also found to be broadly the same across all demographics, as 18% of 65-74 year olds said they would vote tactically compared to 19% of 18-24 year olds.

Regionally, there was more variation. In the north east, 26% said they will vote to keep out a disliked party, while the figure stood at 25% in the East Midlands. In Scotland, only 8% of voters said they would vote in this way and the 17% of people in the North West reported voting tactically.

Unsurprisingly, a third of UKIP voters said they would vote tactically, most likely for the Conservatives to make their vote count against Labour and the Lib Dems.

“It is frankly astonishing that a fifth of Brits feel unable to vote for their first-choice party this election,” said Darren Hughes, deputy chief executive of the EFS.

“That’s a huge proportion of people having to hold their nose and opt for a ‘lesser evil’ rather than who they actually support – and a significant and worrying rise on the last election.”

Hughes added that this situation was foisted on voters by an “arcane voting system,” meaning that people felt their vote was better used on a second or third party preference.

“First Past the Post leads people to try and second-guess how others will vote, rather than being able to simply back who they believe in,” Hughes added. “This whole situation turns elections into a gamble around splitting the vote and trying to predict who on the left/right is most likely to win. That isn’t a democratic election – it’s a lottery election.”

This led the EFS boss to call for a more fair, proportional voting system which is already used in Scotland and Northern Ireland where seats match up to votes.

“Rather than simply throwing people’s votes away because they haven’t been ‘tactical’ enough, it’s time for a system where every vote counts,” Hughes concluded. “No one should feel unable to vote for their favourite party – and this should be the last election where that’s the case.”

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