A failure by politicians to inspire trust is among the real problems behind poor election turnout – and not voter apathy, a recent study suggested.
Professor Charlie Jeffery, from the School of Social and Political Studies at the University of Edinburgh, believes other root causes are politicians not communicating “clear policy platforms” or reaching out to habitual non-voters.
Some 71 per cent voted in the 1997 general election, falling to 60 per cent in 2001 and 61 per cent last May – the worst turnouts since 1900.
He said: “Falling turnout is not caused by falling interest in politics.
“What seems to be happening is a fall in our capacity to mobilise those least interested in politics to turn out.
“And there is no ‘compensation effect’ in new, more direct forms of political activity. Those who join pressure groups, sign petitions or go on protest marches correlate tightly with those most likely to vote.”
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