A week ago we published a blog piece on How do you make sure your vote counts in this General Election? including some information about the effects, intended and unintended, of tactical voting.
In that post, we put links to two of the tactical voting sites. Don’t Split The Remain Vote has pulled together recommendations from these two sites and others, including Remain United. They will update their site as these recommendations are updated and others are released. Don’t Split The Remain Vote allows you to look up these predictions using a postcode or the name of a constituency.
Tactical Voting – intended and unintended consequences
Whichever tactical voting site you look at, the advice provided may well change over time because:
- Candidates for the constituency have not yet been confirmed (we won’t have confirmed candidates until 15th November at the earliest);
- The polling data changes.
For example, the Best for Britain site was going to back Labour in Canterbury, LibDem in Oxford East & Abingdon and Tory in Aberconwy. This has now changed, as the pro-EU Tory MP for Aberconwy (Guto Bebb) has decided not to stand, and Best for Britain now recommends Labour in Aberconwy.
The tactical voting sites will inevitably have varying recommendations. The recommendations are driven by the objective each site has and the methodology it’s used to analyse the data.
There is no single tactical voting site that’s a “magic pill” guaranteed to give the “right” recommendation. You need to inform yourself by looking at the various recommendations, following the local polling and past voting in your constituency, to decide on the vote that will stand the best chance of contributing to the national result that you want.
A cautionary tale: an analysis of the 1997 General election result showed that between 1 in 10 and 1 in 3 tactical votes went the “wrong way” – that is from a second place candidate who had a chance of winning to a third place candidate who didn’t.
The current, very volatile, nature of voting intentions will change this to some extent, but the same analysis showed that only 5-10% of voters voted tactically in 1997. It says that doubling this percentage to 15-20% will make a difference, but warns against overestimating the possible effects of tactical voting.
Splitting the pro-EU/pro-Referendum vote is equally bad, this was how the Brexit Party/UKIP managed to increase their representation in the European Parliament in this year’s MEP elections.
The Brexit Party’s announcement today that it won’t contest the 317 seats the Tories won in 2017, effectively creating a Leave alliance, will probably result in some changes to the pro-EU/pro-referendum tactical voting sites.
What it certainly means is that it is even more important that people act on facts of the situation in their constituency and vote pragmatically for a pro-EU/pro-referendum result.
Students have a further choice
For students, who are allowed to register to vote both at their home address and at their address when at university, there is also a useful tool, provided by the Guardian, which helps to understand whether their vote will be more effective at home or at university?
Students intending to use their vote in their university town/city and consulting tactical voting sites should not use the university’s postcode, but the one for where they actually live while there.
Voter Registration and Turnout
Registration and turnout will be crucial, particularly among the younger voters who are more likely to be pro-EU/pro-Referendum.
Don’t forget that younger voters aren’t just those at university. Around 45% go to university, so 55% don’t, and the category “younger voter” covers people aged 18 to 34, many of whom will have moved as they leave school, go through college/university, start work…
The Electoral Commission, Registering the Missing Millions, estimates that 1 in 3 18-34 year-olds (some 5 million people) aren’t even registered to vote, and that figure doesn’t include those who haven’t re-registered because they’ve moved since the last time they voted. All in all, some 9.4 million are either not registered or not correctly registered.
Apart from making sure that your vote is cast in favour of what is Best for the UK, the facts used by the various political parties and their candidates need to be subjected to a rigorous “reality check”.
A good place to start is to look up the claim or rebuttal on FullFact. This is a fact checking site set up in 2010, now run as a charitable organisation, which has been consistently reliable in checking out statements made by politicians, pundits and the media.
The Bottom Line – this not the time for a protest vote
If you want your vote to count towards an outcome that is in the Best Interest of the UK, you need to VOTE and vote in the best place (if you have a choice) for the best candidate.
Whatever you do, you need to vote pragmatically, even if that means holding your nose and then never admitting that you didn’t vote for your usual allegiance.
If you don’t, and a pro-Brexit authoritarian government gets back into No. 10, will you be OK with the fact that you didn’t do all you could to stop the UK’s and future generations’ rights being flushed down the drain?
By any expert assessment the deal that is Best for the UK is the one it already has as a member of the EU!
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Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.