In 2010 the Conservatives won 36.4 per cent of votes, yet new figures suggest more than half of the population cannot name the Prime MinisterFlickr:Number 10

According to a recent article in the Independent, rates of voter participation and political engagement are at worryingly low levels.

Statistics sourced from VoucherCodesPro indicate that 69 per cent claim to have no interest in politics, while almost half are completely unaware of the upcoming General Election this May.

More concerning, 57 per cent 'do not know' what a general election is, while 59 per cent were unable to name the current Prime Minister.

The majority of people who answered that they had no interest in politics stated that the reason was that they either found it boring, or did not understand it. Other responses included "my views do not matter", and "politics is for the wealthy".

The Cambridge Liberal Democrat MP, Julian Huppert, has expressed concerns about the lack of political knowledge: "We are so fortunate to live in a democracy where everyone's voice matters. But if people want their views to be known the best way is through the electoral process so that they can have their say about the way their towns and cities and the country generally are run.

"Politics governs the way our societies run from maintaining our roads and pavements to how we fund education and healthcare. It is part of our everyday lives and if we want to have a say in how our society is run we have to exercise our right to vote."

Low levels of turnout call into question the legitimacy of the elected government, and the policies that they implement. Although often voted in by a majority group of voters, this is by no means a majority of the eligible voting population, and may not represent their view and needs.

However, Cambridge's Labour candidate, Daniel Zeichner, argues that “for many, many people, there are much more pressing concerns – getting kids to school, paying the rent, making sure you don't lose your job if you're on a zero hours contract and you can't afford to be late.

“As politicians we've got to reach out and go to people where they are – not expect them to come to us. That's why I took the Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls to B&Q – and why Harriet Harman will be in Cambridge soon talking directly to women."

The Conservative candidate for Cambridge, Chamali Fernando, was contacted but was unavailable to comment at this time.

More information and statistics are available from The Independent.

Sponsored links