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You might be surprised by the results of our election survey – I was

Christine Murray
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Our new poll shows architects’ views have hardened along party lines over the past two years, says Christine Murray

Architects have reacted to the snap election with surprising certainty and clarity of purpose. Shortly after Theresa May’s announcement, the AJ posted a survey to find out who our readers would be voting for and pushed it out on our website, social media and via email.

What we have learned from the 599 respondents is that the profession’s support for the Labour Party is undiminished. Asked who they are planning to vote for, more than a third of the 465 people who answered that particular question (35 per cent) said they would support Labour – a near-identical share of the architects’ vote when compared with an AJ election poll two years ago.

What has changed since 2015, however, is the number of respondents who either skipped the question or remain undecided. Given these tumultuous times, I had expected more uncertainty now than in 2015, but in fact the reverse is true: nearly half (46 per cent) of respondents to the AJ 2015 election survey didn’t know or wouldn’t say who they were going to vote for, compared with just 23.5 per cent (132 respondents) in this latest survey. So, while there is still a sizeable number of potential wobblers, views have hardened along party lines.

As Paul Finch says in his column this week, all polls should come with a health warning – certainly the AJ’s survey of the profession has never been prescient in predicting the actual results of the national vote. 

Take, for example, our pre-referendum survey, which showed that 78 per cent of 572 respondents were against leaving the EU. In that poll only a tiny number, just 14 per cent, or 80 respondents, skipped the question or ticked ‘undecided’. While that survey came nowhere near the result, it did provide a useful snapshot of shared opinion and politics within the profession.

These surveys help us shape campaigns and coverage, and influence organisations such as the RIBA to represent the profession’s majority view. 

These surveys help us shape campaigns and coverage

Finally, as I prepare to go on maternity leave, it’s my pleasure to announce that Emily Booth will stand at the helm of the AJ during my leave. I’ve worked closely with Emily on EMAP’s architecture titles for the past six years, when, first as special projects editor of the AJ, and lately as executive editor of the AJ and The Architectural Review, she has led on projects from AJ100 to Women in Architecture. Emily’s experience, passion and drive will ensure the AJ continues to lead the agenda in UK architecture. I look forward to greeting you in these pages next time as a lucky mother of three.

This column was published in the Buildings that care issue – click here to buy a copy 

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