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Questions on satisfaction with your own MP should become a regular part of polling

October 28th, 2013

Our vote is not for a party or PM but for an individual MP

A key aspect of UK elections that seems to get sidelined is the nature of what we are actually doing when we vote at general elections. We are not, except in the EU parliament elections, voting for a specific party and we are not voting for a Prime Minister.

Our choice is for an individual to represent us at Westminster and to many voters that, as we have seen, can override party choice. Increasingly parties are making the personality and strengths of those selected a key part of the ground campaign which can make a difference in tight seats.

    What I find interesting about the Nottingham University/YouGov polling above is the very great gap between views of MPs generally and “your own MP”. The local factor is important.

I’ve made this point before here but we talk about leader ratings all the time but, apart from this polling for an academic project, the MP element seems to get totally ignored.

The size of parliamentary constituencies and the sheer cost and effort required for a seat specific poll mean that we are never going to see much local polling. But we can get a generic picture using the questions featured here.

Given, for instance, that so many blue hopes are resting on the “first time incumbency bonus” in the seats won last time then generic findings like those above are very useful.

It would also help us when betting on specific seats. Richard Nibavi had a guest slot last week on the mismatch between overall GE2015 outcome betting and the constituency prices. Maybe perceptions like the ones above are a factor.

Mike Smithson