EXCLUSIVE: Vote share of two main parties hits historic low three weeks from polling day

Compass calls on Labour to reform the voting system 'no longer fit for purpose'

Voting Ballot Box

The combined vote share for the two main parties has hit a historic low for this point in the election race, analysis from Compass has revealed.

The progressive, cross-party campaign group compared vote share data from three weeks before polling day in each election since 1951, and found that the vote share for Labour and the Conservatives three weeks before polling day has dropped to a historic low.

Compass said the findings reveal a “deep discontent” from voters at the binary choice and argued that the voting system is no longer fit for purpose. It has called on Labour, should the party win the election, to introduce a voting system that better represents the changing, multi-party face of democracy in the UK.

Opinion polls from the four days leading up to and including June 13th 2024 put the combined share of Labour and Conservative votes at 60.8%. It’s a significant 10% lower compared to the previous lowest figure in 2005, which had the average vote share for the two main parties three weeks ahead of polling day at 71%.

It continues a trend in the long-term decline in vote share for the two main parties. In 1955 Labour and the Conservatives held nearly 97% of the vote. While the analysis shows that this has steadily gone down ever since.

Compass has argued for an end to the First Past the Post (FPTP) system which means the main battle in elections will always be between the two major parties, and means parties can win seats with as little as 35% of the vote.

A Compass spokesperson said: “The never-ending doom loop of First Past the Post locks voters into an abusive cycle where they are constantly forced to pick between two parties they clearly don’t have any enthusiasm for. But fewer and fewer are now doing so.”

The group is campaigning to elect progressive candidates who are committed to reforming the electoral system by introducing proportional representation, which Compass said was “the key to unlocking democracy.”

This general election Compass local groups have secured more than 30 endorsements of PR-supporting candidates with its Win As One campaign.

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward

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