The Electoral Commission

The independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK

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Winter Tracker

The ‘Winter Tracker’ is an annual UK-wide survey designed to provide an overview of public sentiment towards the process of voting and democracy in the UK.  It covers a range of electoral issues including voting and the registration process, party finance and electoral fraud.

To access historic reports and data, see our research report library.

Winter Tracker 2019

Headline findings

In 2019, nearly seven in ten (69%) electors were confident that elections are well run in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This represents a slight decrease from the previous Winter Tracker (71%) and the 2016 result when 76% of electors were confident that elections were well run.  The level of confidence in 2016, was the highest since the Winter Tracker started to record this measure – a period of 9 years – and may have been related to the high levels of engagement in 2016, when the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union attracted a high turnout.

There was variation in confidence that elections are well run across age groups, with over 55s most likely to express confidence (79%) while under 24s were the least likely (59%).

We have monitored public satisfaction with registering to vote, and with voting itself for over a decade.  Overall satisfaction is fairly consistent.

Variation in the results tend to mirror one another, with a drop or a rise usually seen in both measures.  Satisfaction with registering to vote is consistently higher than for voting.   On average the measures are over 80% satisfaction with registering, and over 70% with voting.  In 2019 satisfaction was above this average for both, with 83% for registering and 76% for voting.

Note: Fieldwork moved from December to January for the 2017 Tracker onwards

The Winter Tracker has consistently tracked attitudes to voting in UK parliamentary general elections, which have remained stable since 2016, with around three-quarters saying that they always vote (73%) and 16% saying that they sometimes vote. This was markedly different from attitudes to local government elections, in which 62% said that they always vote, with 24% saying that they sometimes vote. Our report Voting in 2017 looks in more detail at differences in engagement between local and general elections.

There was also variation across age groups in attitudes to voting, with 54% of under 24s saying that they always vote in general elections compared to 90% of those aged 55 and over. The same pattern is reflected for local government elections, where those aged 55 and over were the most likely to say that they always vote in these polls (78%) compared to those aged under 24 (47%) , 25-34 (also 47%) and 35-54 (56%).

In general, electors consider voting to be safe from fraud and abuse with 88% (up from 84% in 2018) stating that they felt voting was either very safe or fairly safe. People continue to express greater confidence in the safety of voting at a polling station (90%) than voting by post (68%).  This represents a slight rise from 2018 for confidence in the safety of voting at a polling station, and a slight decline in that for postal voting.

Fieldwork was undertaken by BMG Research who conducted 1,731 online interviews between 14 January and 1 February 2019. More details on the methodology and the full results of the survey.

To access historic reports and data, see our research report library.