Hundreds of thousands of Welsh voters are set to ‘hold their nose’ and vote tactically in the General Election on 12th December, according to new polling for ERS Cymru by YouGov.
The poll found that 29% of Welsh voters could turn to tactical voting in next month’s election – unable to opt for their first choice under Westminster’s First Past the Post system.
The figure was even higher among younger voters – with more 18-24-year-olds planning to vote tactically than not. Just 43% of them said they woud vote for their preferred candidate.
The UK remains the only country in Europe to use First Past the Post for national elections – where only one candidate wins in each area, and all other votes do not count – for its main elections.
Commenting on the results, ERS Cymru Director, Jess Blair said it was 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,” she said. “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.”