The General Election is just under 4 months away, and that time will be filled with lots of political reporting, debates, and discussion. However, if voters in marginal seats have already decided who they’ll vote for, this coverage will make little difference to the final outcome. We travelled to Hendon, a key Labour-Conservative marginal in North West London, to ask voters there if they already know who they’ll cast their ballot for this May.
During the day we made a simple tally chart of where voters placed themselves on a 1-5 scale, with 5 representing someone who was already fully confident in their decision and 1 representing someone who still had no idea. The distribution of responses of voters we surveyed was concentrated at the extremes. There were party loyalists who answered with a resounding 5, yet many more who were a 1, and were totally unsure of who to vote for in May.
The main reason for indecision: despondency with politicians. “They [politicians] are a bunch of tossers!” exclaimed one undecided voter, and another commented “I haven’t decided who to vote for mainly because I think there is no clear cut party anymore, I think it’s all pretty much in the middle.”
Aversion to politicians makes Hendon an interesting constituency to watch: both the Conservative and Labour candidates have represented the seat. The contest between the two main candidates in 2015 is a rematch of the contest in 2010. Then, current Conservative MP Matthew Offord won the vote with just 106 more votes than Labour’s Andrew Dismore, who had served as the MP from 1997-2010. Given the responses of voters during the day, both candidates will have to balance the benefits of having built up a network and reputation during their time as MP, with the need to present a refreshed message to captivate those many voters who are tired of politics as usual.