Why voting matters: Don’t rely on the pollsters

Firstly, I would like to point out that I’m not a political journalist and my argument here will cover only the two front-runners in the election campaign. There is also an undeniable bias, but at least I’m honest about it. However, I do feel that what follows can easily be applied to whichever leader/party you believe in.

Elections matter because they determine all our futures based on the decisions made by millions of people in the privacy of polling booths across the country.

The results are not based on what the pollsters say, nor on what happens in election campaigns, nor what any journalist or pundit says. Nor is the outcome in this time of political volatility predictable in any traditional sense.

So, anyone now making guesses about the final outcome of the election is doing just that, guessing, even if those guesses are of the most informed kind.

The polls are showing that the Conservatives are ahead by as many as 15 points or as little as one. But this won’t matter if people don’t bother to turn out to cast their vote.

The polls have been wrong for the past few major votes: The 2015 election looked like a walk in the park for Labour, but they were trounced. Brexit looked like a pipe dream early in the campaign and the polls, right up until the end pointed towards the UK remaining in Europe. We’re leaving. In the US, the election of Donald Trump was a joke, until it happened.

The effect polls have on the electorate is that of placating people: “Oh, it looks like Labour could win this, maybe I don’t need to cast my vote. We all know the Tories will get in anyway.” We’ve heard this time and time again over the course of the last month – but, Labour, and especially Corbyn, look strong, and the gap is closing, but he can’t possibly win.

This is at odds with everything we’ve seen on the coverage of the election campaign so far. We’ve been shown a Prime Minister who called an election to cement her place and increase her majority, who won’t engage in debates and has constantly gone back on policies, displaying incredibly weak leadership. When she has appeared in front of crowds she has been heckled and laughed at while answering questions like an automaton.

Corbyn on the other hand has appeared on many debating shows and though he too is challenged, he at least gives the impression of listening and explaining himself in more than just political soundbites. Also, his public appearances have drawn enthusiastic crowds the size that music acts would be proud to pull. And there’s another thing, he’s the first politician I’ve even seen to appear on the covers of music magazines heavily promoting the arts. Something at which this country has always been great at and something that has had its funding cut back over the last decade or so.

The problem is that enthusiastic crowds don’t always convert into votes and this is what everyone who has attended these rallies must remember on June 8th. If you don’t support your party in the voting booth the same as you did standing in the rain in Gateshead they won’t get in.

The polls have Labour advancing on the Tories, one or two are predicting they could actually overtake. Do not let this dampen your willingness to show up tomorrow to your local voting station and cast your vote. For years, people have moaned about their votes not mattering, they do. Until the first-past-the-post system is replaced this is the system we have, and if people turn out in the numbers they did for the Brexit vote – or more – then every vote will matter and will count towards the final result, however it ends up.

If it doesn’t go your way, join a movement looking to change the system to a popular vote like www.change.org, www.electoral-reform.org.uk or www.makevotesmatter.org.uk

I understand that a lot of people vote based on the leader of the party and that sometimes none of the leaders appeal to you. If that is the case visit www.voteforpolicies.org.uk and see which party’s policies you most align with, regardless of the face of the party clouding your judgement.

Something feels vital about this election and I truly believe good things can happen if enough people are behind them. Please, please go out and vote tomorrow and, if you can, try to make an informed decision. It does and will affect your life.

Thank you for your time.

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