General Election 2024: What is Tactical Voting?


You may have heard many people mention ‘tactical voting’, which has become a particularly prominent theme at this election. In short, it is voting for a candidate/party who isn’t necessarily your favourite, but is most likely to beat your least favourite candidate.

Because of the UK’s voting system, rather than voting for who you wish to see on a national level, you vote for a local candidate. Therefore, your vote is significant in relation to how the rest of your constituency votes. Because to several socio-economic factors, some areas have high concentrations of supporters for certain parties.

For example, the constituency of Sevenoaks, in Kent, has been a conservative safe seat for roughly 100 years. This year it is looking extremely close between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives. Many of those voting for the Liberal Democrats will not have them as their favourite party, however, given they are the most likely to challenge the Conservatives, many will vote for them for this reason alone.

Many use this as an argument against are voting system given millions feel compelled to vote for a party they do not even support. In contrary to this, a system of proportional representation championed by smaller parties such as the Greens and Reform UK, remove this phenomenon of tactical voting, and therefore making the election process more democratic.

Dependent on the constituency, it is often more about who you do not want to see win, as opposed to who you do. You can easily look up the vote share from 2019 to see who is second place in your constituency if you want to see where your tactical vote is, or check sites such as YouGov to see which parties are likely to win.

Despite this, your vote counts more than ever. There are less so-called ‘safe seats’ – seats where one party has always and will always seem to win – so who you vote for will matter more. And even if the party you vote for does not win, more votes means that party will get more money to campaign with next time. Vote on Thursday 4th July.



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