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UK election: Nature polls its readers on the science vote

Survey suggests that left-leaning readers are taking more notice of historically minor parties.


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An e-mail poll of 321 UK Nature readers suggests that they are taking more notice of the country's historically minor parties: in particular, the Green Party and the Scottish National Party (SNP).

The science vote has never been representative of that of the wider UK population: if the country were made up only of scientists like those who answered the survey, a left-leaning party would win easily. Around a third of readers responding to Nature's poll were still undecided about their vote, but those who had made up their minds plan to give most support to Labour in the 7 May general election. Nine of 96 Labour voters in 2010 said they would switch their support to the Green Party, however.

UK election 2015

Mouse over the ‘ribbons’ to reveal how individual readers plan to switch their vote.

  • SNP
  • Plaid Cymru
  • UKIP
  • Greens
  • Labour
  • Liberal Democrats
  • Conservatives
  • None, other or don't know

How readers will vote in 2015

To view this interactive graphic please use a modern browser (e.g. Chrome, Safari or Firefox) with javascript enabled.

How readers voted in 2010

Nature/Chris Ryan

A fall in support for the Liberal Democrats is also apparent: of 98 respondents who told Nature that they had voted for the Liberal Democrats in the last election, only a quarter have committed to casting the same vote this time around, with the Green Party and Labour making the biggest gains.

Overall, both the Green Party and the SNP seem to have gained support among scientists.

Labour is also the party that the scientists Nature polled think would give UK research the best chance of thriving, with the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in second and third place, respectively. But researchers rated the Green Party higher than the Conservatives when asked which party would be most likely to use science advice to formulate policies.

Roughly three-quarters of researchers polled by Nature said that the candidates’ attitudes to science would affect their vote — a proportion similar to the 80% recorded in a Nature poll before the last UK general election, five years ago.

Which political party do you think would give scientific research the best chance of thriving in the UK?

Click here for the full survey results: Science in UK election 2015

Journal name:
  • Readers responded to a survey e-mailed in the week of 17–24 March 2015. Survey work by Dan Penny, Kate Peskett, Richard Van Noorden, Daniel Cressey and Elizabeth Gibney. Graphics by Chris Ryan.



This article has been amended to make it clear that the results are suggestive only of Nature’s UK reader opinion, not of all UK scientists.

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