New YouGov poll: Over a quarter of Welsh voters plan to vote ‘tactically’ in General Election

Posted on the 29th November 2019

  • Statement from ERS Cymru and YouGov – for immediate release, Friday 29th November 2019
  • Contact / 07794728820 for more information or interview bids. Cross-tabs available on request

Hundreds of thousands of Welsh voters are set to ‘hold their nose’ and vote tactically in the General Election on 12th December, according to new polling for ERS Cymru by YouGov [1].

The new analysis produced exclusively by YouGov for Electoral Reform Society Cymru found that 29% of Welsh voters could turn to tactical voting in next month’s election – unable to opt for their first choice under Westminster’s ‘warped winner-takes-all voting system’.

Just over half of respondents (53%) said they intended to vote for the party or candidate they most preferred whilst 11% remain undecided and 7% not intending to vote.

The figure was even higher amongst younger voters – with more 18-24-year-olds planning to vote tactically than not. Just 43% say they will vote for their preferred candidate.

The UK remains the only country in Europe to use First Past the Post for national elections – where only one candidate wins in each area, and all other votes go to waste – for its main elections. Wales uses proportional representation for Assembly elections, and councils in Wales will soon be able to use a fairer voting system (STV) if government-backed legislation passes.

Commenting on the results, ERS Cymru Director, Jess Blair said:

“With well over a quarter of Welsh voters intending to hold their nose in this election, it’s clear that the Westminster First Past the Post system is fundamentally broken and undermining Welsh democracy. The results are the consequence of a broken voting system, where people feel they can’t always vote for their first choice in elections. It’s absurd that Welsh voters continue to have this stitch-up imposed on them.

“This election has already seen a surge in electoral pacts between parties, limiting voters’ choice before they even make it to the ballot box. With these results, we now know that a large proportion of voters feel even less able to have their say.

“If we had a fair, proportional voting system this problem simply wouldn’t exist: you can vote for who you want, and if your first choice doesn’t stand a chance, your second choice is counted instead.

“It’s long past time Westminster moved into the 21st century and ensured people were heard and represented – rather than voters in Wales and across the UK constantly having to game the system.”


Notes to editors

The ERS back the multi-member Single Transferable Vote used for local elections in Scotland and Northern Ireland:

[1] All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,116 adults.

Fieldwork was undertaken between 22-25th November 2019.

The question read:
“Thinking about the upcoming UK general election, which of the following best describes which party or candidate you intend to vote for?”

  1. I intend to vote for the party or candidate best positioned to keep out another party or candidate that I dislike
  2. I intend to vote for the party or candidate I most prefer, regardless of how likely they are to win
  3. Don’t know
  4. I don’t intend to vote

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