I’m really excited to welcome you to this first column, letting you know about the results we’re getting from the Big Election Survey that we, at the University of Lincoln’s School of Psychology, are running in conjunction with The Lincolnite.
In February, we launched the Big Election Survey, which is designed to give you – the residents of Lincoln and the surrounding areas – the opportunity to tell the electoral candidates what the most important issues are to you, and how you intend to vote on May 7.
So far, we’ve had a fairly good response, with almost 400 of you giving us your opinions. Remember that this is a rolling survey, so if you’ve taken part before, you can come back week-on-week to keep updating us with your views.
In terms of how the election is shaping up, you’re telling us that Lincoln could swing back towards the Labour Party, with Lucy Rigby gaining support from 35% of you who have taken part so far.
In second place is Karl McCartney of the Conservative Party, with a share of the vote at an estimated 22%, according to the figures we’ve collected since the survey was launched on February 24.
In third is Nick Smith of UKIP, taking around 8% of the pre-election votes. Clearly, this may not be representative of the constituency as a whole, and is based on 400 responders, but it may be indicative of how the city will vote in just less than a month’s time.
In terms of what you see as the most important issues facing the local area, health seems to be a key concern, with almost a third of responders so far ranking the NHS as the most important political issue locally – just ahead of the economy, and housing.
Nationally however, those who have taken part in the survey rank getting the economy back on track as the most important issue. This is followed in second place by the NHS, with immigration being considered the third most-pressing issue facing the country as a whole.
Arguably the most important group to the electoral candidates will be those who say they are still ‘Undecided’ about who to vote for.
According to our data, these voters, which currently make up almost 20% of responders to the survey, are particularly concerned about the NHS, the economy, and the welfare system.
These may become important issues for the candidates to address in the upcoming weeks – particularly at the Lincoln Debate, hosted jointly by The Lincolnite, Lincolnshire Echo, and BBC Radio Lincolnshire at the LPAC in election week.
These results indicate that voters do view local politics in a slightly different way to national politics, which is interesting in-and-of itself. However, we do need many more responses in order to be sure about the results that we’re getting.
You can enter once per week, but please come back each week to update your results. The first batch of winners will be contacted very soon.
I’ll be updating this column weekly in the run-up to the election, so keep checking back for updates on the survey, and in-depth analysis of how support for each of the parties is looking.
Craig Harper is a lecturer in human psychology at Nottingham Trent University. His main interests examine how the news media represent a range of social groups, and how these reports impact on social and political discussions. Born and bred in Lincoln, he takes a keen interest in the local area, and is a big supporter of Lincoln City FC.