All the parties are reporting large numbers of people canvassed who say they don’t know or have not made up their minds. The polls are also wobbling about a bit, implying some people are changing their minds.
In recent years I have found it more difficult to canvass accurately than it used to be. I suspect those who say “I haven’t made up my mind ” or “I don’t know” could belong to several different camps.
Some probably have decided exactly who they want to vote for, but do not intend to tell the other party canvassers – or even their chosen party – how they are going to vote. It avoids further discussion on the doorstep. They may think it avoids further contacts, but of course it may not as parties these days have “strategies” for following up on “Don’t knows”.
Some of the Don’t knows will not vote. Very few people tell canvassers they will not vote, though to do so would probably guarantee them peace for the rest of the campaign. A typical canvass suggests less than 5% will fail to vote, yet in recent General Elections it has been more than a third come the day.
Some of the Don’t knows will be people who are genuinely undecided, people who do want to hear the campaigns and even read some literature. They seem to be a minority of the “Don’t knows”, as relatively few want to talk on the doorstep, or have a doubt or an issue they wish to think through before deciding.
Many of the “Haven’t made my mind ups” are Lib Dems, as most of their voters, leaving aside the activists, are reluctant to admit to voting for them.
It would be strange if everyone already knew how they are going to vote. What would be the point of three weeks more campaign if everyone already knew. The parties should in a way be glad there are people who say they have not made up their minds. It means not all the next three weeks of door knocking, leaflet dropping and media performances will be in vain. Some people seem to me to be waiting for something more substantial or earth shaking than they have been offered so far by the main party debates.
Promoted by Christine Hill on behalf of John Redwood, both of 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU