Poll reveals record-breaking 30 percent of public plan to vote ‘tactically’ in General Election

Posted on the 3rd December 2019

Campaigners call for December election to be last conducted under ‘woefully undemocratic’ one-party-takes-all system.

  • Statement from the Electoral Reform Society for immediate release, 3rd December 2019

Almost one in three will vote ‘tactically’ for someone other than their first choice next Thursday, a shock new poll for the Electoral Reform Society shows.

New polling for the Society by BMG Research finds 30% of the public say they will be “voting for the best-positioned party/candidate to keep out another party/candidate that I dislike” on December 12th.

That is up markedly from 24% last week and around 22% near the start of the campaign.

Just 51% say they will vote for “the candidate/party I most prefer, regardless of how likely they are to win,” and 19 percent say they don’t know – ‘a damning indictment of Westminster’s anti-choice voting system’, according to campaigners.

Pro-EU campaigners have set up numerous websites that claim to advise the public how to cast their vote if they want to stop Brexit — some of which offer contradictory advice – while the Brexit Party pulled out of hundreds of seats, reportedly to avoid ‘splitting’ the Conservative vote in Tory-held seats.

The ERS, who are calling for a switch from first-past-the-post results to a more proportional system, say the poll findings ‘sound alarm bells for our democracy.’

Darren Hughes, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:

“That one in three feel they have to vote for a ‘lesser evil’ should sound alarm bells for our democracy. Given the number of contradictory tactical vote recommendations out there this election is looking like a lottery under Westminster’s broken voting system – one where we all lose.

“It’s time for a voting system where you don’t have to second guess other voters but where seats match votes and these invidious decisions become a thing of the past. Voters want real choice and a strong voice – and the ability to vote with their hearts. That isn’t such a radical idea.

“Let’s move our democracy into the 21st century and make this the last election under Westminster’s ‘hold your nose’ electoral system.”

Nearly all parties except the Conservatives and Labour have pledged to reform Westminster’s voting system and move to proportional representation, though both main parties have committed to a review of Britain’s constitutional set-up.

The ERS and other campaigners are marking this Thursday ‘Democracy Day’ in a bid to ensure parties talk about how their plans for reforming Westminster.


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

The question was as follows:

Which of these statements is closest to your reasons for voting for your chosen party/candidate?  

  • I am voting for the candidate/party I most prefer, regardless of how likely they are to win
  • I am voting for the best-positioned party/candidate to keep out another party/candidate that I dislike
  • Don’t know


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