BMG poll: Just one in six people believe Westminster is working well #DemocracyDay

Posted on the 5th December 2019

And only 2% feel they have a significant influence over decision making – even in a General Election campaign. Leading democracy campaigners launch day of action #DemocracyDay to put political reform on the agenda.

  • Statement from the Electoral Reform Society, 5th December for immediate release

Just 16 percent of the public believe politics is working well in the UK – and only 2 percent feel they have a significant influence over decision-making [1], according to ‘damning’ new BMG polling.

The poll for the Electoral Reform Society– finds that 85 percent of people say democracy could be improved ‘quite a lot’ or ‘a great deal’ with 80 percent of people feeling they have ‘not very much’ or ‘no influence’ over decision-making.

It comes as the UK’s leading political reform groups – including the Electoral Reform Society, Unlock Democracy, Make Votes Matter, and Compass – have declared today (5th) ‘Democracy Day’ [2] to call for parties to address the need for political reform. The groups say there has been ‘deafening silence’ on the issue in the election debate.

The civil society organisations are hosting a series of events [3] and are urging parties to respond to calls for an overhaul of Westminster, amid ‘rock-bottom’ trust in politics.

The ERS are calling for a package of reforms including proportional representation, replacing the unelected House of Lords and updating Britain’s ‘dangerously outdated’ campaign rules.

The coalition of campaigners are calling for a constitutional convention involving citizens, to set out how to reform Westminster after the election.

New research by the ERS has shown that nearly 200 seats haven’t changed party hands since World War II [4]. Meanwhile 30 percent of voters – a record high – say they plan on voting tactically next Thursday, under Westminster’s ‘warped’ voting system [5].

Darren Hughes, Chief Executive, Electoral Reform Society said:

“These findings are a dire verdict on the state of Westminster. Just one in six people believe our politics is properly working. That only two percent of the public feel that they can significantly influence the decisions of our political leaders is a deeply worrying state of affairs.

“This collapse in trust must be met with a genuinely bold, positive vision for upgrading Westminster’s crumbling constitution.

“Parliament is in urgent need of an overhaul – and we cannot let the issue go ignored any longer. From a warped voting system to an unelected House of Lords, our 19th century levers of government are in desperate need of an upgrade.

“This is a democratic crisis in the midst of a General Election campaign. Parties need to step up and respond.

“This level of political disaffection is corrosive to our society and puts the long-future of our political system at risk. It’s time to address the elephant in the polling booth, and end the deafening silence on political reform.”

“We urge candidates and parties to step up and put political reform on the agenda on Democracy Day.”


Notes to editors

[1] Source Note: BMG Research interviewed a representative sample of 1,630 GB adults online between 27th & 29th November. Full tables available on request.

The questions were as follows:

How much influence, if any, do you feel you have over decision-making in the country as a whole?

  • Great deal of influence (2%)
  • Some influence (13%)
  • Not very much influence (40%)
  • No influence at all (40%)
  • Don’t know (5%)

Which of these statements best describes your opinion of how politics is working in the UK?

  • It is working extremely well and could not be improved (2%)
  • It could be improved in small ways but is generally working well (14%)
  • It could be improved quite a lot (35%)
  • It needs a great deal of improvement (50%)


[3] Democracy Day events on December 5th
Manchester: ERS-backed Democracy Day launch event at the People’s History Museum, featuring speakers from across parties. Register here or contact press office:

London: ERS/Institute for Government event on Westminster’s electoral system. Register here or contact press office:

Aberdeen: ERS Scotland and the University of Aberdeen’s joint public debate on Scotland’s citizens’ assembly. Register here or contact press office:



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