Turnout is lower in safe seats

A sample of results in the 2001 General election shows that turnout is inversely proportional to majority. See figure here http://www.greenhealth.org.uk/Democracy.htm . Turnout falls from 60% to 50% if the majority rises from 4000 to 1600. In other words, some people realise there is no chance of their vote making a blind bit of difference. So if we want to increase participation and turnout, we need to go for PR.


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  • tagged this with love 2016-05-28 16:28:38 +0100
  • commented 2016-05-10 17:41:43 +0100
    Chris I am puzzled by your opposition. If you look at the figure here http://www.greenhealth.org.uk/Democracy.htm (you have to scroll down) you will see that there are outliers at either end, where the turnout is greater in safe seats, and vice versa. Nevertheless, there is a convincing trend. This kind of analysis is absolutely standard. Statistical analysis is always better than single instances, although politicians do seem to prefer giving anecdotes. It is not an either-or situation of democracy or high turnout. Good democracy goes hand in hand with high turnout.
  • commented 2016-05-10 09:54:28 +0100
    Turnout was 71.9% in Wokingham safe seat in 2015 General Election. Majority 24,000. PR is about democracy not spurious statistics to get more people voting. Concentrate on the real issue.
  • commented 2016-05-10 09:22:16 +0100
    Apologies, there is a typo: it should read “Turnout falls from 60% to 50% if the majority rises from 4,000 to 16,000”. Turnout is inversely related to majority. Turnout is lower in safe seats.
  • commented 2016-05-04 19:20:10 +0100
    If Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can have PR elected legislatures then so should the UK as a whole. The turnout figures for countries with PR systems are not much higher than the UK so whilst PR is essential it may not have a dramatic effect on turnout.
  • tagged this with like 2016-05-04 19:20:09 +0100
  • commented 2016-05-04 13:10:10 +0100
    I currently live in a one party state and it’s not a healthy place to be as there is no incentive for the permanently in power to do anything. PR as a manifesto commitment and real PR, not AV.
  • tagged this with like 2016-05-04 13:10:09 +0100
  • tagged this with love 2016-05-03 17:59:53 +0100
  • commented 2016-04-06 11:56:09 +0100
    I think it is self evident that PR of some form would be a fairer wa to select a government that would take all votes into account on not only the few that happen to be in marginal constituencies.
  • tagged this with like 2016-04-06 11:56:08 +0100
  • commented 2016-04-04 13:51:48 +0100
    Bob Crossley, you say " It could be that the difference in turnout could be explained by voters in marginals being turned on by a close race rather than voters in safe seats being turned off." OK. So why are they turned on by a close race? Because their vote may make a difference in a marginal, whereas in a safe seat, a number of voters realise that their vote makes feckall difference. So all you have done is turn the motivation round; the outcome is the same. People vote if it makes a difference, and do not vote as much if it makes no difference. Under FPTP Government is chosen by swing voters in marginal seats – about 0.16% of the electorate. Under proportional representation every vote has an effect.
  • commented 2016-04-04 13:27:18 +0100
    You’re putting the cart before the horse here. Just because turnout is lower in safe seats that doesn’t mean that PR would improve turnout overall. That’s a pretty straightforward logical error. Correlation does not imply causation.

    Think about it a moment. It could be that the difference in turnout could be explained by voters in marginals being turned on by a close race rather than voters in safe seats being turned off. Safe seats might be the baseline turnout. So if you change the system, voters in what were safe seats might find the contest a little more interesting and vote a little more often… but voters in formerly close seats could well find the contest a lot less important and not bother under PR. And that’s not counting the voters who might just be put-off voting by the mechanics of the chosen PR system . We have no reason to suppose that the gain will be greater than the loss.

    If we’re really interested in curing low voter turnout we need first to look at the research into why people don’t vote, and commission more of it where existing research is lacking. We should be trying to diagnose the ailment first, not making up excuses to reach for the favourite cure-all.
  • commented 2016-04-04 13:27:16 +0100
    You’re putting the cart before the horse here. Just because turnout is lower in safe seats that doesn’t mean that PR would improve turnout overall. That’s a pretty straightforward logical error. Correlation does not imply causation.

    Think about it a moment. It could be that the difference in turnout could be explained by voters in marginals being turned on by a close race rather than voters in safe seats being turned off. Safe seats might be the baseline turnout. So if you change the system, voters in what were safe seats might find the contest a little more interesting and vote a little more often… but voters in formerly close seats could well find the contest a lot less important and not bother under PR. And that’s not counting the voters who might just be put-off voting by the mechanics of the chosen PR system . We have no reason to suppose that the gain will be greater than the loss.

    If we’re really interested in curing low voter turnout we need first to look at the research into why people don’t vote, and commission more of it where existing research is lacking. We should be trying to diagnose the ailment first, not making up excuses to reach for the favourite cure-all.
  • tagged this with dislike 2016-04-04 13:27:15 +0100
  • tagged this with love 2016-04-03 09:07:51 +0100
  • posted about this on Facebook 2016-04-03 09:07:21 +0100
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