Fringe Box



Borough Council Election Still Up for Grabs – Poll Says Nearly Half of Voters Are Undecided

Published on: 24 Apr, 2023
Updated on: 26 Apr, 2023

By Martin Giles

Nearly half of Guildford voters have still to decide who to vote for in the Guildford Borough Council election to be held on May 4, if a town centre straw poll of 108 voters held yesterday is indicative.

Previous Dragon polls of similar sample size have successfully predicted outcomes but with so many undecideds, the vagaries of the “first past the post” voting system and an unusually large number of parties in contention, prediction of the result based on this poll is probably unwise.

The survey was taken in the High Street and North Street around midday yesterday (Sunday, April 23). Those polled were asked whether they lived in Guildford borough and whether they intended to vote or not. If they said they were residents and did intend to vote they were asked who they were minded to vote for.

81% of those questioned said Guildford should have a building height policy

Image showing the comparative heights of the existing Debenhams building and its approved successor “St Mary’s Wharf”.

Additionally, they were asked whether Guildford should have a building height policy. Overwhelmingly respondents were in favour. 87 of those questioned (81 per cent) said yes, Guildford should have a building height policy, 10 said no and 11 were uncertain.

As for party preferences, the share of support between the three largest parties at GBC reflects the current position with the Lib Dems having the largest share of support closely followed by R4GV and then the Conservatives.

Whether all the parties will translate more or less of their percentage of the popular vote into a similar proportion of seats remains the question. For instance, GGG is still likely to be popular in the seats in which it is standing.

If the percentage figures do predict the result, then there will be no overall control at GBC and will mean there will need to be another coalition or a minority administration.

Some respondents did mention that they had been put off voting for R4GV because of information they had read about the North Street proposal but others wished the scheme had gone ahead.

Unsurprisingly, some comments showed a lack of awareness. Several mentioned issues which are not the borough council’s responsibility such as: NHS services, policing, roads, road maintenance and traffic.

Respondents were not asked the reason for their voting choice but spontaneous comments were recorded.

Four said they liked the North Street scheme and wished it had gone ahead, including two Lib Dem supporters perhaps unaware that all Lib Dems on the Planning Committee had voted against it. Five specifically gave their dislike of the proposal as the reason for their voting choice, two describing it as “appalling”.

Three respondents complained about the new ID requirement when voting.

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