New polling: Lack of awareness of new voter ID rules could be crucial in marginal constituencies

First-of-its-kind polling suggests that millions could be prevented from voting on election day due to lack of  public awareness of new voter ID regulations, which could make a crucial difference in ultra marginal constituencies.

The Best for Britain MRP poll of more than 15,000 people undertaken by Survation found that 16% of respondents don’t know about new voter ID rules suggesting that around 5 million voters could be turned away when they try to cast their vote in the upcoming local and General Elections. 1.85 million are in marginal and ultra marginal seats.

The new data showed that misapprehension of the new rules is greatest among younger people with one in four (27%) people aged 18-24 in the dark of what they need to vote compared to just 6% of over 65s.

Similarly 18% of people working full time do not know photo ID is required compared to a mere 5% of those who had retired.

In Scotland, one in four (27%) are unclear about the new rules compared to one in five in Wales (20%) and 14% in England.

A high level of confusion was recorded among minority ethnic groups including one in four (26%) Asian/Asian British respondents, 23% of those who are Black/African/Caribbean/Black British and 22% of those who identified as mixed/multiple ethnic groups.

The findings of this first constituency level MRP analysis of voter ID awareness could be decisive in newly marginal seats recently revealed by Best for Britain.

In the seat of Richmond and Northallerton where the Prime Minister holds a poll lead of 2.4%, an estimated 9,800 voters are unaware of the need to show voter ID with a similar number in Liz Truss’ constituency of South West Norfolk where she leads by 1.5%.

Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Suella Braverman and Priti Patel could also be saved as between 7,000-9,000 people in their seats are unsure of the need for photo ID.

The confusion could scupper the hopes of smaller opposition parties of making gains with 9,695 people unaware of the requirements in the Green target seat of Waveney Valley and around 10,000 in both Lib Dem target seats of  St Ives and South Cambridgeshire. 

Voter ID requirements were introduced as part of the Elections Act in 2022 after the Government claimed it was needed to prevent electoral fraud.

Among more than 30 million votes cast during the last General Election in 2019, there was only one conviction for identity theft. Around 14,000 people were turned away from polling stations during last year’s local elections with the number of people deterred from voting estimated to be much higher.  

Best for Britain’s campaign will increase awareness of new voter identification laws and accepted forms of ID for voting before the next General Election.

Read our FAQ - ‘When is the next UK general election?’


The poll of 15,029 adults and MRP analysis for Best for Britain was conducted by Survation between 8th March and 22nd March 2024. 

What is MRP? 

Multilevel regression and poststratification (MRP) is a way of producing estimates of opinion and attitudes for small defined geographic areas. It works by combining information from large national samples (for example tens of thousands of respondents) with ONS and census data. Survation have published a full explanation on their website about what MRP is and how it works.

Data tables