Starmer fails to get deal done as polls show election turnout could be worst in modern history

Britain is heading for the lowest general election turnout in modern history, pollsters warn, with the main parties and their leaders leaving many voters “politically homeless”.

The warning of mass apathy follows Techne UK polling this week, which shows that even in the middle of an election campaign, with just a month until election day, 20 percent of people have already decided not to vote.

The poll of 1,645 Britons of voting age by Techne for Independent Media shows that the non-voting rate of the population is normally high in periods when there are no elections, but is expected to rise significantly decrease during the short campaign (the period between the dissolution of parliament and election day).

Apathy is especially high among young voters, who say their housing issues have not been addressed by the major parties in the campaign. Among Generation Z and millennials, 38 percent have decided not to vote, almost double the national average.

And according to Techne, 30 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds aren’t even registered to vote.

Leading pollster Robert Hayward, who is also a Tory peer, noted that many people who say they will or may vote will also not end up at the polling stations on July 4.

Keir Starmer is struggling to connect with voters, according to the poll (PA).

Keir Starmer is struggling to connect with voters, according to the poll (PA).

He thinks this is because many Conservative voters in particular are angry with their party, while “Keir Starmer has failed to seal the deal and convince people that he is a prime minister in waiting”.

He said: “While 80 percent say they will or may vote, many of those people will not vote. So the 20 percent percentage of those who do not vote will be higher.

“I feel like we could have record low turnout because it’s clear that a lot of voters look politically homeless.

“The key to this, however, is how many people surveyed would normally vote. If a large proportion of them would normally vote, then 20 percent is a very high figure.”

Of those surveyed, 1,111 (68 percent) voted in the last election, while the remaining 534 (32 percent) are split between people who decided not to vote and those who were too young to vote in 2019.

Julie Etchingham hosted this week's debate between party leaders, which descended into rancor and frequent interruptions (PA)Julie Etchingham hosted this week's debate between party leaders, which descended into rancor and frequent interruptions (PA)

Julie Etchingham hosted this week’s debate between party leaders, which descended into rancor and frequent interruptions (PA)

This means that the 2019 poll counted a higher share of eligible voters than the national share of those who actually voted in the last election (67 percent). Lord Hayward commented that this made the figure of 20 per cent “not going to vote” “more important”.

Polling guru Professor Sir John Curtice agreed that polls exaggerate the number of people who actually vote.

He told The independent: “What we can argue is that the conditions that make low turnout possible are present.”

He continued: “There are two conditions that indicate low turnout. First the big poll led, so it seems like it’s clear what’s going to happen. Secondly, there are only small differences between the two largest parties, so it doesn’t really matter who wins anyway. To this we can add the fact that none of the main party leaders are popular or charismatic, which is why Farage can make waves.”

According to Techne UK, university-educated people are highly unlikely to vote, with as many as 60 percent planning to stay away from the polling stations.

This figure could be a rare boost for the Tories, as students are much more likely to vote for Labor than for them.

But among younger voters who have decided to vote, Labor leads the Tories by 54 percent to 14 percent.

The findings show that only a small number of people would not vote because they do not like their local candidates (9 percent), indicating that the national picture is having much more impact than usual.

Of the retirees (over 64s) most likely to abstain, 37 percent of respondents say it is because they do not like either party.

Meanwhile, one in three low-educated people will not vote because they believe their vote does not count.

Meanwhile, after rows over the party moving to the right, supporting Israel and sidelining left-wing candidates, former Labor voters are likely to abstain because they don’t like the policies of either party (54 percent). In particular, Unite, Britain’s largest trade union, announced this week that it will not endorse Labor’s manifesto.

Techne UK chief executive Michela Morizzo warned that abstentions will be so high that voter profiles for the main parties will change.

She said: “There is no doubt that this election could well see the lowest turnout in electoral history. The main problem with voters who say they won’t vote, whether they are young or older, is that they say they cannot trust any political party or politician.

“This issue of trust, the breakdown of the alliance between voters and those who represent them, is the key factor why in this election those who stay home and don’t vote could make up the largest share of electoral votes ever.

“We’ll see in the coming weeks, but probably only [whoever] is really convinced which party deserves his vote and will vote. This would not mean a positive scenario for the Conservatives. Time and the polls will tell.”

Ms Morizzo added: “The risk of a low turnout is very high because there is abstention among those who voted conservative and have lost confidence, which carries the risk that traditional abstention, that is to say the most vulnerable social classes, becomes even greater. As a result of the polls, we could find a conservative voter identity that is very different from that of 2019.”

Luke Tryl of campaign organization More in Common warned that a lack of belief that political parties provide solutions to solve Britain’s problems is at the heart of voter cynicism and apathy.

He said: “The big question is: does the time for mood change mean more people will want to cast their vote or does the pervasive sense of apathy and cynicism mean more people are deciding not to bother?

“What is certainly true from our focus group discussions is that very few people have confidence that whoever wins can solve the challenges facing a ‘broken’ Britain.”

An Electoral Commission spokesperson said: “A general election is an important opportunity for people to express their views, and registering is the first step to the polls. It’s quick and easy to apply, and with less than two weeks to go until the deadline, time is of the essence.

“All voters must register by midnight on June 18 to participate, and those planning to vote at a polling station should check they have accepted ID to obtain their ballot. Anyone who cannot or does not want to vote at a polling station in Britain can request a postal ballot by 5pm on June 19, or a proxy vote – where someone votes on your behalf – by 5pm on June 26. Complete these tasks and you will be ready to cast your vote on the 4th of July.”

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