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2 March, 2005

Public wants a say but is wary of 'politics'

Most people want a say in how the country is run but many doubt that political participation is the best way to do it, according to a report published yesterday.

Research conducted by MORI for The Electoral Commission and the Hansard Society claims that two-thirds of the public (67%) want to have a say in how the country is run, but only 27% at the moment feel that they do have a say.

The report, the second annual Audit of political engagement, updates the first one published in 2004.

The value of involvement in politics has not moved from its low level in last year's survey. Fewer than two in five say they believe that "When people like me get involved in politics, they can really change the way that the country is run".

According to the report, just over half of the public (53 per cent) find politics of interest, with less than half (45 per cent) feeling they know a fair amount or a great deal.

52 per cent said they would be 'absolutely certain' to vote in an immediate general election.

However, over three quarters (77 per cent) of those polled said they are interested in national issues and even more (81 per cent) interested in local issues.

“Many of those who say they’re not interested in politics do so because of how they interpret the concept," said Sam Younger, Chairman of The Electoral Commission, "but when asked about issues that affect them, their families or the world around them, people have strong opinions and a keen interest."

A full audit will be published every third year with updates in between.


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