EU Constitution - Referendums yield response
WORKERS, APR 2008 ISSUE
Ten referendums were held in selected marginal constituencies around the country throughout February. Despite several of the sitting MPs leafleting constituents telling them not to vote, voters gave the polls an unprecedented response. 152,520 people voted across just ten parliamentary constituencies. The turnout across the country was 36.2%.
Voters were asked two questions:
Should the UK hold a national referendum on the EU's Treaty? 133,251 voted for yes - 88%, and 12% voted no. Fewer than 1% gave no answer. Should the UK approve the EU's Treaty? 89% voted against the Treaty and 8% voted in favour. 3% gave no answer.
Even though the poll was unofficial, the 36.2% turnout means that a higher proportion of people voted in these unofficial referendums than in real local elections in their area. The average turnout for local elections (when not held with general elections) since 1996 is 35.4%. The average turnout in referendums on directly elected mayors – including in London – is 30.1%. So this is the highest turnout ever in an unofficial ballot.
In eight of the ten seats a greater proportion of people voted for a referendum than had voted for the sitting MP. On average the sitting MPs had won 27.5% of the available vote. But of those balloted in this campaign, 31.2% voted for a national referendum.