How do people decide how to vote in an election?

The calling of a snap General Election in the UK was a genuine surprise; the result is unlikely to be one though. A survey published on the day of the announcement put the Conservatives on 44% and Labour on only 23% while, when asked who would make the best Prime Minister, 50% went for Theresa May while a mere 14% backed Jeremy Corbyn.

So, if the overall result seems (sadly) in little doubt, how does the individual voter make up his or her mind how to vote? I put the factors as ‘the three Ps’.

Personality: Some voters decide on the basis of their local candidate, judging the calibre or reputation of that candidate. Many votes decide on the basis of the leader of the political parties, especially making a judgement as to who would be the best Prime Minister.

Policies: Some voters look at what the various parties have to say on policies that matter to them. These might be general issues like levels of taxation and public expenditure or the state of the National Health Services or schools. These might be specific issues such as a third runway at Heathrow or closure of a local hospital.

Principle: More so in the past that today, voters may decide in terms of the type of society they want to see. Do they want an economy dominated by market forces and individual choice or one where the state has a more interventionist role and promotes community values? Do they want a state where the rich and powerful are enabled to become richer and more powerful in a ‘free’ society or do they believe that a fairer distribution of power and wealth is better for all sectors of society even if it involves an active state?

I have always made my decision on the basis of principle which essentially means that, from election to election, I have nothing to decide.  I have never not voted and I have never not voted Labour. I shall do so again even though I have never supported Corbyn’s leadership.

One Comment

  • Janet

    Like you, I tend to vote on principle in a General Election. However, in local elections in our small town, I almost always vote for the person rather than the party as I usually know all the candidates personally.


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