Public back TV debates and inclusion of more parties, says new poll

Houses of Parliament

In the same week that the Prime Minister has said he will not debate without the Greens, a new YouGov poll suggests a huge majority favour the debates.

Answering the question:

“Do you think that there should or should not be televised debates between the party leaders during the general election campaign?”

70% of respondents to the survey said that there should be debates, whilst just 15% disagreed and 15% did not have an answer.

The poll suggests that there is a large public appetite for live televised debates. In 2010, TV debates were held for the first time and included the leaders of the Labour party, the Conservatives, and the Liberal Democrats. Whether or not debates take place is still up in the air as David Cameron has said that he will not participate unless the Green Party is included.

Despite the high chance that the Green party could not be included, the poll suggests that 62% favour the inclusion of Natalie Bennett, the Green Party leader.

84% think Cameron should be included, as well as 84% for Ed Miliband. 78% think that Nick Clegg should be included and 71% think UKIP’s Nigel Farage should participate. Additionally, 53% of those polled think that Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP’s leader and First Minister of Scotland, should be included in the debates.

If the poll is accurate then there is clearly a demand for the inclusion of a wider range of parties, which arguably shows the changing face of British politics. The country is moving towards a multi-party system and this support of a large multi-party debates reflects this.

Even the SNP, who can only be voted for in Scotland are arguably wanted in the debates, for example 52% of those respondents in London would like to see Nicola Sturgeon participate. 66% of Scots agree.

Overall, the debates might not go ahead, but this poll arguably shows a clear message from the public: have the debates and include a wide range of voices.

Fieldwork for the poll was done 8th - 9th January. 1684 GB adults took part. The full results can be found here.

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