Poll: One third of voters plan to vote tactically at general election

Almost one in three of the electorate plan to vote tactically for someone other than their first choice at next week's general election, a new poll suggests.

Such a trend could make it difficult for pollsters to make accurate predictions of the national result after voting finishes on December 12, with UK-wide surveys not picking up seat-by-seat variations.

Scotland has some of the most marginal constituencies in the UK, with North East Fife being defended by the SNP with a majority of just two votes and Perth and North Perthshire with a majority of 21.

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The survey by BMG Research for the Electoral Reform Society found that 30 per cent of respondents said they will be “voting for the best-positioned party/candidate to keep out another party/candidate that I dislike”.

A third of voters have suggested they could vote tactically at next week's electionA third of voters have suggested they could vote tactically at next week's election
A third of voters have suggested they could vote tactically at next week's election
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Only 51 per cent say they will vote for “the candidate/party I most prefer, regardless of how likely they are to win,” and 19 percent say they don't know - 'a damning indictment of Westminster's anti-choice voting system', according to campaigners.

Pro-EU campaigners have set up numerous websites that claim to advise the public how to cast their vote if they want to stop Brexit — some of which offer contradictory advice - while the Brexit Party pulled out of hundreds of seats, reportedly to avoid 'splitting' the Conservative vote in Tory-held seats.

The ERS, who are calling for a switch from first-past-the-post results to a more proportional system, say the poll findings 'sound alarm bells for our democracy.'

Darren Hughes, ERS chief executive, said: "That one in three feel they have to vote for a 'lesser evil' should sound alarm bells for our democracy. Given the number of contradictory tactical vote recommendations out there this election is looking like a lottery under Westminster's broken voting system - one where we all lose.

"It's time for a voting system where you don't have to second guess other voters but where seats match votes and these invidious decisions become a thing of the past. Voters want real choice and a strong voice - and the ability to vote with their hearts. That isn't such a radical idea.

"Let's move our democracy into the 21st century and make this the last election under Westminster's 'hold your nose' electoral system."