Wednesday, 5 January 2011

First Past the Post: A Few Facts and Figures


The turnout in General Elections in the UK is lower than in most other established democracies. Most of the EU states with a lower turnout in their last election were post-communist countries in eastern and central Europe. Whilst turnout in 2010 rose slightly to 65.1%, the previous two elections had a turnout of around 60%, no other election since 1918 has had a turnout below 70%.

Votes per MP

Under the current FPTP system, the number of votes cast for a party per MP varies widely. Votes for the Conservatives and Labour translate efficiently into seats, where as votes for the Lib Dems and Greens are far less efficient.

During the 2010 election, the parties received the following amount of votes per MP:

Conservative Party - 34,995
Labour Party - 33,345
Liberal Democrats - 119,795
Green Party - 285,616

Seat share projections

The Electoral Reform Society has looked into how the 2010 election might have turned out had it been run under alternative voting methods. Whilst modeling of this nature requires a lot of assumptions, it nevertheless provides an interesting picture of how results might have been.

FPTP - Conservatives 307, Labour 258, Lib Dems 57
AV - Conservatives 282, Labour 264, Lib Dems 74
STV - Conservatives 254, Labour 195, Lib Dems 166

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