For the last few weeks I have been running a poll that has been aimed at improving engagement in politics; hopefully you will have seen it…
The question posed is the same as the one on the fast approaching date of June 23rd – whether or not the UK should remain a part of the European Union.
Together with this poll, I have also made a number of sources available where interested persons can go to find out more information from a variety of sources, as well as links to the two official campaign sites.
The very core theme of poll this was to encourage people to participate. Whether that was in reading some information designed to help and inform, or to take part in my online poll, this was all aimed at increasing participation and encouraging debate on what is probably the most important individual question facing this country at present. In no way does this poll or these results claim to be indicative of the constituency or aim to imitate professional polling; it simply aims to encourage and improve participation in political debate.
In order to engage as many people as possible, particularly the young, I have used social media extensively to promote the poll, but this has been in conjunction with a postal campaign to try and reach those lucky enough not to have social media intruding into their daily lives. Further to this, the poll was launched working cooperatively with the Plymouth Herald to alert their readers to both the source list and the opportunity to cast their vote in Plymouth’s poll of voting intentions in the European Referendum.
The results, made up from Plymouth Moor View constituency, have shown that of the 402 voters who have taken part so far, over 74% intend to vote to leave come June 23rd. Amongst men and women of all ages the numbers were similar, men favouring leave by 76% to women who favoured leave at 72%.
Yet, some of the most interesting results came from looking at the demographics of those who participated. Looking at everyone who took part, 69% were in a bracket of 45 years or older. In terms of gender, 281 Plymouth Moor View men voted, opposed to only 122 women across the same area.
Taken as a whole, participants in the poll generally felt that they at least had ‘enough information’. Part of this project was about creating a debate in Plymouth Moor View regarding the European referendum, but also about facilitating access to neutral sources, as well as those on both sides of the debate. Clearly more needs to be done to reach those who do not have enough information or want more, yet the initial indication is that where engagement is happening, the information getting across is generally useful. However, referring back to the earlier statistics regarding participation, we are clearly failing to engage women and younger age groups.
To finish off what has become a lengthier post than normal and having considered the result in some detail, the one thing that really hits home to me is the need for people like me to do more to encourage people to vote and to take part. As I keep saying, I strongly believe there is more to government than the EU referendum. But in my view, this referendum will define Plymouth’s future in the immediate and long-term future.
Referendums do not come around often and the outcome of this one will have a profound effect on our collective fortunes, irrespective of the outcome. Democracy is a precious thing, longed for by those who don’t have it and often abused by those who do. So if I could ask you to take one message from this poll, I’d ask you to make sure you vote.
If you want to take part in the EU referendum on June 23rd, but haven’t yet registered to vote, don’t worry. Voter registration is open until June 7th, you can visit the gov.uk website here to fill out the online form. Posted overseas with the armed forces? No problem, you can also register here.
My online poll will remain open up until the referendum with the next (and most likely final) publication of results likely to take place in the week of the actual referendum on June 23rd.
Ultimately, come June 23rd, everyone has one vote and it is equal to any other. Make sure you are registered and that your voice is heard.