Contact: Stephen Gilmore, +32 498 07 78 19;
London, 24th May 2023

Voters are disillusioned with the UK political system and open to reform, new polling conducted for Make Votes Matter has revealed.

The survey showed that 48% of people think the political system is failing to deliver for the people, compared to only 20% that believe it is working well. This indictment comes amid growing calls for political reform.

On Wednesday, hundreds of people from constituencies across the UK are gathering in Westminster to lobby MPs to change the voting system to a form of Proportional Representation (PR). MPs will hear hundreds of personal stories about how the current system is letting people down, denying millions a real voice in politics. Constituents will be making the case that, to deliver real and lasting change, first we need to sort the system.

Democracy campaigners have long argued that First Past the Post is at the heart of dissatisfaction with the UK’s political system, pointing to lower levels of inequality and higher rates of satisfaction in those countries that use PR.

The survey, conducted by Stack Data Strategy, shows that the public supports a move to PR by a margin of more than two to one, with only 18% saying they oppose a proportional system, compared to 42% in favour, including 50% of Labour and 45% of Conservative 2019 voters. These results reinforce previous polling showing public support for reform, and will bolster the case of those participating in the Sort The System mass lobby on Wednesday.

The poll results also add to the pressure on Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer, who in recent months has consistently said that electoral reform is “not a priority” for an incoming Labour government. Starmer’s ambiguity stands at odds with his party, which voted overwhelmingly in favour of a manifesto commitment to introduce PR with support from a large majority of both trade unions and Labour members. A number of senior Labour figures, including First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, and Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, have nonetheless called on Starmer to commit the party to bringing in Proportional Representation. 

The findings of this survey lend weight to their argument, with dissatisfaction with the political system most pronounced outside of London, highlighting the extent to which the Westminster system, underpinned by First Past the Post, concentrates power in the hands of a small and unrepresentative elite. 

Commenting on the survey and in the context of Wednesday’s mass lobby, Klina Jordan, Chief Executive of Make Votes Matter, said: “This polling confirms what we already know – Westminster is not working. People are fed up with a political system that is out of touch with the needs of the people. We are encouraged to see, once again, that the public is behind our call for Proportional Representation. With hundreds of people meeting their MPs on Wednesday as part of our “Sort The System” lobby, we will ensure that Westminster hears the public demand for reform.


Notes to editors:

For more information, please contact Stephen Gilmore, Media Manager at Make Votes Matter on +32 498 07 78 19. 

Sort The System is a mass lobby of Parliament calling for Proportional Representation for UK general elections. It is the joint initiative of the organisations listed below, coordinated by Make Votes Matter. More information is available here.

Supporting organisations:

  • Electoral Reform Society

  • Unlock Democracy

  • Compass

  • Politics for The Many

  • Open Britain

  • Best For Britain

The Alternative Vote – on which the UK had a referendum in 2011 – is not a form of Proportional Representation and can be even more disproportional than First Past the Post.

On behalf of the Make Votes Matter, Stack Data Strategy polled a representative sample of 1,500 adults, to understand their views on the UK political system. Numbers based on 50 or fewer respondents should not be seen as representative of the demographic group as a whole. Due to weighting and rounding percentages may not sum to 100%. Links to the full tables can be found here.