New Poll Shows UK Voters Disillusioned With Political System

Sharp increase in percentage who say elections are not free and fair

LONDON, 26 MARCH 2015 – On the eve of the general election campaign, dissatisfaction with the UK political system is at high levels. Over seven in ten UK citizens (73%) say that their country is not “governed by the will of the people,” according to a new GlobeScan survey of 1,000 British adults.
This sense of alienation is a lasting trend in the minds of Britons as similar proportions felt the same way in 2011 (76%) and in 2003 (70%).
The study also reveals that there has been a sharp increase in the percentage of Britons (31%) who say that “elections are not free and fair”—a number which has doubled since 2002.
The findings are part of a 23-country global study looking at how public perceptions on democracy and election-related issues compare across the world.
Doug Miller, President of the GlobeScan Foundation, says: “These high levels of disillusionment among British voters suggest that established political parties will be severely challenged to engage Britons in this election campaign, and that challenger parties and first-time candidates can expect to do better than ever before.”
The political cynicism of the electorate is intensified by well-established perceptions in the minds of Britons that the benefits and burdens of recent economic developments are not shared fairly. Six in ten (61%) feel this way, and such attitudes could be damaging to David Cameron’s hopes of securing a second term of office on the back of economic expansion.
However, these perceptions of economic unfairness are in line with those under a Labour government (57% in 2009) suggesting a longer-term sense of economic exclusion among the electorate.
In Scotland, which is set to be a key electoral battleground and traditionally a Labour-supporting area, close to 90 per cent say the country is not governed according to the will of the people, and two-thirds are not satisfied with the way economic benefits and burdens have been shared. Disillusion with the system is also fairly strong in the Labour-friendly regions of Northern England, and in the more Conservative-inclined South West.
A nationally representative sample of 1,000 citizens in the United Kingdom were interviewed by telephone between January 27th and February 1st, 2015. Fieldwork in the UK was carried out for GlobeScan by Populus. Questions were asked of a half sample. The results are accurate within a margin of error of +/-4.4%, 19 times out of 20. 

About The GlobeScan Foundation

Established in 2012, the GlobeScan Foundation is a not-for-profit dedicated to helping achieve a sustainable and just world for all.
The GlobeScan Foundation focuses on developing and applying a range of social science tools to help give voice to global publics, unlock collaboration and accelerate progress.
The Foundation is partly funded by GlobeScan Incorporated, the 25-year-old stakeholder intelligence and engagement firm with offices in London, San Francisco, Toronto, and Cape Town, that has conducted the 20-nation BBC World Service Poll for the last decade.
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Background Data

Question Wording

Q7at Thinking about the economic developments of the last few years, how fairly do you think the benefits and burdens have been shared in [Country]: very fairly, somewhat fairly, not very fairly, or not at all fairly?
01 – Very fairly
02 – Somewhat fairly
03 – Not very fairly
04 – Not at all fairly
05 – Depends
99 – DK/NA
Q8at Would you say that [this country] is governed by the will of the people?
01 – Yes
02 – No
99 – DK/NA
Q9at Do you feel that elections in <this country> are free and fair?
01 – Yes
02 – No
99 – DK/NA