The general election of 2002 – Voter apathy

a) Political apathy is when the voters feel disillusioned by the current state of politics. They feel that there is no point in voting because their vote will have no impact. In areas of high Labour support a conservative voter may feel little point in voting because it will have no effect. This means that that person, while still interested in politics, feels that their vote will be worthless and that they can do nothing to change the system. Also as the political parties move closer together in ideologies this means that voters no longer see much of a difference in who they choose to vote for which means they don’t really feel the need to vote because it will make no difference and they don’t care who is in power because they don’t see that it affects them very much.
On the very basic level this means that people may not be interested in politics at all. Less and less people watch the news each day, newspaper buying is in decline and the most popular programme is Eastenders. Programmes like Question time and other political debate programmes never get high ratings and this shows a continuing trend. People these days don’t care about the government, don’t feel that the government effects them, don’t see any difference in the government and so don’t really care who wins and this all boils down to Political apathy.
b) No campaign differences

Vote worthlessness
Don’t like anyone
Too busy for something which does not matter.
One of the main reasons for low voter turnout could have been the fact that more and more people do not see a difference between the parties. Whilst Labour and the Conservatives claim to have different ideologies their methods of running the country do not vary a great deal. In fact many people do not really notice much of difference from the way the country was run pre-1997 and how it was run afterwards. New Labour is very different to old Labour and thus it occupies the same space as the Conservatives did. This means that people feel that it does not matter who wins the election because nothing really changes for them on a street level. When people feel like that they then see no point in voting.
Another small factor could be that Labour supporters felt unhappy at the way labour had acted but could not bring themselves to vote for Conservatives so they decided not to vote at all out of principle.
Perhaps the biggest factor is that people feel that there vote won’t make a difference. The problem with that is that they are correct. If there is a Labour supporter in a region which is a conservatives area then there is no point in that voting because the vote will not make a difference. That’s not just a myth, that is true and people know this. Why take the time and the trouble to vote when it will do nothing. Being armed with this knowledge will mean that people will not bother to vote because they know that 1 vote will not make a difference anywhere. One way to reverse this is to get everyone in England to vote for a party and not for a candidate, which means every vote would be used in getting a party elected. The parties would then be able to win a number of MP’s where then put into certain areas.
Also in 2001, it is a fact that more people felt that they tough no one really represented what they wanted. This meant that they had no one to vote for and they did not want to vote for another party. This would mean that around 10% of the country had no one to vote for and that is a lot of votes that would not have been cast because of that.
Another smaller factor is that people are busier and more stressed than ever these days. Many people may simply have not had had time to go to a polling booth to vote and coupled with the aforementioned facts, people may not have been that bothered to vote anyhow. But it is still true that people may just feel that they don’t have enough time to go and vote and so just stay away.
One reason, which is similar to another reason, which has been mentioned, is that people did not vote because they were happy with the current govt. If people feel that the current govt. is doing a good job then they don’t feel the need to vote against it or to vote for it (the poll’s all said Labour were going to win anyway). People were happy with Labour and did not want anyone else so they did not feel the need to vote unlike other instances where people are very unhappy with the state that the country is in and vote to get a new party elected to make some changes. If people are happy with the current govt. then they will not waste voting because they don’t need to.

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