An exclusive poll carried out by BMG Research for the Electoral Reform Society has found that the public believes televised General Election debates are an important tool for helping to decide who to vote for.

Of those surveyed, some 56% of people feel the debates are important, and this figure rises to 71% among 18-24 year-olds.

Meanwhile, nearly half (46%) of people agree that major party leaders should commit to participating in televised General Election debates, compared to just 23% who disagree.

Among those between 18-24 years-old 58% feel that leaders should participate, with the over 65’s having the least interest as just 34% support the debates.

Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:

“These figures show voters now see TV debates as ‘part of the furniture’ of a General Election. That’s particularly the case for younger voters – meaning it’s therefore crucial for youth engagement that they take place.

“The last two General Elections saw millions watch the televised debates, allowing politicians to reach out beyond the already-politicised and speak to a hugely diverse audience.

“With both Conservatives and Labour voters agreeing TV debates are important, Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn should now both commit to taking part.

“It would be a travesty for the debates to be cancelled simply because one side decided to torpedo this now-crucial part of 21st century politics.

“With such a short election period, the debates could play an absolutely essential role. Leaders owe it to the voters – and especially Britain’s young people – not to back out.

“After this strong show of support from the public, we call on all party leaders to commit to taking part and making this as broad and engaging a campaign as possible.”

An article based on these polling results, released by the Electoral Reform Society, can be found here.

Fieldwork dates, methodology and a full breakdown of these results can be found here.

For a more detailed breakdown of results from this poll, or any other results from our polling series, please get in touch by email or phone.


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