ELECTION: Speaking to the ‘floating voters’

Still undecided ... Simon Ullyatt, of Leverton.
Still undecided ... Simon Ullyatt, of Leverton.

In 50 days’ time, the polls will open in what is being tipped to be the closest General Election in decades.

Adding to the uncertainty is the reportedly high number of so-called ‘floating voters’, those who have yet to make up their mind which party will get their backing come May.

A recent poll found that 44 per cent of those who said they were certain to turn out at the polls were still undecided how they would cast their vote.

This week, The Standard spoke to a number of people from the Boston and Skegness constituency who earlier this year classed themselves as a floating voter in a survey conducted by the paper.

For some, the uncertainty remains.

“I simply do not see a true leader at the head of any of the political parties,” said David Powell, 50, of Cut End Road, Fishtoft. “I cannot see one party that has a clear, coherent understanding of the problems facing this country or any plan to resolve those issues.”

He added: “This country was destroyed by Labour, the issues have largely been ignored by the current administration and UKIP lack credibility.”

A traditional Conservative voter, Mr Powell said his faith in the party has been ‘sadly shaken’ during the course of its coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

Among the factors leading to this loss of faith, he said, were ‘broken promises’, giving the party’s failure to bring net migration down below 100,000 people a year as an example.

He added: “At the moment I am verging towards UKIP purely because I do not believe any other party will give the public the right to have their say on EU membership.”

He doubted the Tories would make good on their pledge to offer an in/out referendum on the issue.

He said: “I suspect there will be some sort of reason why it can’t be done after we have voted them in.”

He said his decision has been made harder, however, by UKIP’s choice of candidate locally, questioning whether someone in their early 20s would have the ‘life experience’ to be an MP.

Simon Ullyatt, 43, of Lenton’s Lane, Leverton, is a traditional Labour supporter, though voted Liberal Democrat in the last election.

He ruled out voting Liberal Democrat again, however, based on the party’s role in the Coalition Government during this parliament, which saw them, he saidm supporting Tory policies ‘on just about everything’.

This included breaking their pledge to oppose increasing student tuition fees.

He said: “I think they have really ruined everything for themselves this time.”

He is, however, unsure about falling back on tradition and casting his vote in support of The Labour Party.

He said: “I don’t have a lot of faith in The Labour Party at the moment.”

He added: “They don’t seem to be radical enough by far. I would like to see them a lot further to the left than where they are at the moment.”

Mr Ullyatt said he was considering voting for The Green Party, attracted by their call to end austerity.

He said, however, as a supporter of EU membership, he was ‘very concerned’ a vote for the Green party would help UKIP secure a seat in Boston and Skegness. In fact, he said if he could find out how to vote in order to prevent a UKIP win locally, he would ‘definitely vote that way’.

Ben James, 33, of Sherwood Avenue, Boston, put his floating voter status down to there being ‘no clear standout policy or image coming from any party’.

He said: “I hear each day that one party or another has announced another new policy, and they are all neither here-nor-there.

“I want to see a clear stance on health, defence, and most importantly education. Over the last few years my son has seen his secondary education repeatedly meddled with, through new guidelines that have constantly changed the goalposts and affected his education.”

Broken promises also featured in his reasons for his uncertainty.

He said: “The fact that four years ago, the Lib Dems went back on their promises once they got into office, I am left with a difficult decision on who to believe. I would like a party to make an election promise and be held accountable to it!”