Tactical voting like for quarter of Welsh voters

New polling suggests that hundreds of thousands of Welsh voters are set to ‘hold their nose’ and vote tactically in the General Election on 12 December.

The YouGov poll for ERS Cymru found that 29 per cent of Welsh voters could turn to tactical voting in the upcoming election – unable to opt for their first choice under Westminster’s ‘warped winner-takes-all voting system’. In fact, only 53 per cent said they intended to vote for the party or candidate they most preferred whilst 11 per cent remain undecided and seven per cent not intending to vote.

Jess Blair, ERS Cymru Director, 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.”

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.