Britain Poised for Century-Low Turnout

As hard as it is to believe, our British friends are set to surpass us in voting futility:

Politics Is No Longer Britain’s Cup of Tea (CSM)

[…] With less than two weeks to the May 5 vote, the big question facing British politicians is not who votes for them, but who votes at all. Experts predict the lowest participation in a century.

Turnout that persisted above 70 percent for decades after World War II is expected to plunge to 53 percent this cycle, according to Professor Paul Whiteley of England’s Essex University. Turnout in the 2004 US presidential vote was 61 percent.

Turnout is expected to be especially dire among young people – and worse still in inner-city districts like Vauxhall. “People of my generation do feel guilty if we don’t vote, but 18- to 20-year-olds don’t,” says Mr. Whiteley. “They don’t see party politics as interesting.”

Take a look at this page. Until Tony Blair’s election in 1997, turnout didn’t drop below 72% for at least a half-century. In 2001, it got worst, falling below the 60% mark. Now it’s bordering on American levels circa 2000. Astonishing.

If the Brits want to get out the vote, something tells me they’ll need a lot more than John Kerry’s old hacks. A lot more.

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Robert Garcia Tagorda
About Robert Garcia Tagorda
Robert blogged prolifically at OTB from November 2004 to August 2005, when career demands took him in a different direction. He graduated summa cum laude from Claremont McKenna College with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and earned his Master in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.


  1. Anderson says:

    The average Brit voter appears to believe the Tories are gone missing ….