Politics at a national and local level impacts all of our lives across every community in Wales. Yet engagement with politics varies greatly along socio-economic lines.
2021 saw the highest-ever turnout for a Senedd election, with 46.6% of eligible Welsh voters casting their ballot. The previous high was 46.3% in 1999. There were, however, also noticeable differences in turnout in certain constituencies, with 52% of registered voters voting in Dwyfor Meirionnydd and just 35% doing so in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney.
Dr Jac Larner, a politics lecturer at Cardiff University and an investigator for the Welsh election survey, said that the two largest factors in determining voter turnout between constituencies were their socio-economic make-up and the competitiveness of the seat. “Basically, people with higher levels of formal education, people who own houses, people with more wealth essentially, are more likely to turn up to vote,” he told BBC News. “Straight away, as you compare Cardiff North to Merthyr Tydfil, you see big differences there.”
People are less engaged within those communities where the need for change is greatest. People within these communities feel disenfranchised and lack a voice.
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