Only 12 percent of voters in ‘red wall’ seats oppose replacing the First Past the Post voting system used for Westminster elections, according to a new poll commissioned by Make Votes Matter. In comparison, almost four times as many voters support a change to Proportional Representation.

The poll was conducted by Redfield & Wilton Strategies and includes a representative sample of 1,500 voters. The seats included are 40 constituencies in traditional Labour heartlands in the Midlands, North of England, and Wales. All 40 constituencies had switched to the Conservatives at the last general election (or last year’s Hartlepool by-election).

Respondents were asked whether they support switching the UK’s voting system to Proportional Representation, which ensures that the proportion of seats a party receives in Parliament closely reflects the proportion of votes they received.


Proportional Representation is the name for a voting system which ensures that the proportion of seats a party receives in Parliament closely reflects the proportion of votes they received.

First Past the Post is the name for a voting system which ensures that the candidate with the most votes—and only this candidate—wins the election in each constituency, regardless of the votes cast overall.

The United Kingdom uses a First Past the Post voting system. To what extent, if at all, would you support or oppose the United Kingdom switching to a Proportional Representation voting system?

Total Support – 47%

Strongly support – 21%

Support – 26%

Neither support nor oppose – 26%

Total Oppose – 12%

Oppose – 5%

Strongly oppose – 7%

Don’t know – 15%


The results show that voters in key battleground seats are crying out for a different kind of democracy.  The poll also asked voters whether they thought politicians should have strong policies on democratic reform.


Which of the following statements comes closest to your view?

If they are serious about delivering on important issues that affect me, politicians should have strong policies on democratic reform. – 49%

If they are serious about delivering on important issues that affect me, politicians should not have strong policies on democratic reform. – 21%
Don’t know – 30%


Far from seeing democracy as a distraction, voters understand that to deliver on key issues politicians need to reform our political system.

These results come as Labour Party Conference kicks off in Liverpool, with electoral reform set to be a key issue for delegates. With the majority of Labour members, affiliated unions and the general public in favour of PR, it is time for the Labour Party to show leadership on winning real democracy.

Redfield and Wilton surveyed 1,500 people between 19-20th September 2022. Full cross-tabs are available here.