Study of the 'political pulse' of the nation shows post-election boost in engagement, lack of knowledge about Europe and continuing frustration with the political system
The public are more interested in and knowledgeable about politics today than they were a year ago, according to the latest Audit of Political Engagement, produced by the Hansard Society.
The audit, which is described as an annual health check for the political system, found that interest in politics had increased by eight percentage points to 57 per cent, and that 55 per cent claimed to feel knowledgeable about politics, also an increase of eight points on last year.
59 per cent of respondents say they are ‘absolutely certain to vote’, an increase of ten percentage points.
However, the Hansard Society has previously observed an engagement boost in post-election years, which tapered in the subsequent years. It warns that optimism about the latest results should be ‘strongly tempered.’
The research also shows that while 63 per cent say they are interested in issues to do with the EU, just 38 per cent feel knowledgeable about the EU.
On these figures, Dr Ruth Fox, Director of the Hansard Society and co-author of the report commented:
“It’s worrying that just 38% of people feel knowledgeable about the EU when we are just weeks away from making one of the most important decisions of our lifetime on whether to retain our membership of it. Both sides of the debate need to raise their game and do a lot more to improve public knowledge. A lot more light and less heat is desperately needed in the time that’s left.”
Satisfaction with the performance of parliament and MPs is stubborly low, with just 32 per cent reporting are satisfaction with how Parliament works and 29 per cent with how MPs generally do their job.
The audit also validates concerns about inequality of involvement in the political system. Hansard Society researchers have repeatedly found that the most politically engaged people are older, white, affluent, home-owning men with high levels of education.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.