Just half of electorate plan to vote

Only half (51 per cent) of British voters plan to vote in the next election and less than half (42 per cent) can name their local MP, a new poll reveals.

Research conducted by Mori found that Britons currently have little political interest, knowledge and satisfaction.

The survey, conducted on behalf of the Electoral Commission, is likely to come as a blow to the government, currently preparing for local council and European Parliament elections in June.

Politics is on the verge of becoming a minority interest, the Electoral Commission warned after research showed that only 38 per cent of those surveyed said they had discussed politics or political news in the past two to three years.

Just five per cent of those polled had attended a meeting, donated money or paid a membership fee to a political party and just one per cent had taken part in a general or local election campaign, according to the Guardian.

Mori found that less than a third (32 per cent) were satisfied with their MP and just over a third (36 per cent) with the way parliament worked – a fall of nine per cent since May 2001.

Interest in politics is the lowest since Mori began polling voters in 1973 and has plummeted from 59 per cent in 2001.

However, the study found that 60 per cent of those who could name their MP were satisfied with their performance, compared with 26 per cent who could not.

When asked seven questions relating to UK politics, fewer than half (45 per cent) answered four or more correctly and five per cent could answer none.

Just 36 per cent of believed getting involved could change the way the UK was run and only 27 per cent said they trusted politicians, yet 74 per cent considered it a duty to vote.

Sam Younger, the chairman of the Electoral Commission, said: “Public engagement in politics is crucial to the health of a democratic society. The audit clearly demonstrates that people want to have a say in the way decisions are made and to feel reassured that they are being listened to. Politicians at all levels must make that connection.”

The Mori poll, conducted last December, questioned 1,976 adults across the UK.