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The odd one out

In the past two or three years — that is, at any time since the Arab Spring, since the tsunami hit Fukushima, or since William and Kate got married — have you discussed politics?

If you have, welcome to the 35%.

You might be even more special than that. Do you recognise this person…?

1. You think getting involved in politics can make a difference

Only 7% of us strongly agree that getting involved in politics can make a difference — and only 25% even tend to agree. The rest of us are either indifferent or disbelieving.

2. You know a lot about politics

Only 4% of people think they know a great deal about politics. To the nearest 10%, that’s nobody. Another 40% say we know a fair amount, but more than half of us say we know not very much or nothing at all.

3. You want to be involved in national decisions

Only 6% of us want to be very involved in national decisions, with another 27% up for being fairly involved. Two thirds of us would prefer mainly to keep out of it or to steer clear completely.

4. And you care

Are you part of the 8% minority who are very interested politics? Or the 34% who are fairly interested? Or do you stick with the majority who say we’re not very interested, or not interested at all?

It’s an unusual sort of person who’s really involved in politics, who speaks the language, cares about the ins and outs and wants to get stuck in. Fewer than one in ten of us fit that bill.

Yet about a third of us have talked about politics or done something like sign a petition in the past few years. We may not follow politics avidly, but we’re not indifferent either. But it’s likely that we care a lot more about issues than we do about politics itself.

And before we conclude that politics is a minority sport, two thirds of us plan to vote at the next election — in fact, half of us say we’re certain to, and the rest of those say we’re likely to.

So if you had to split the country into political tribes, very roughly you might say that 10% or less of us are into politics; another 30% pay some attention but care more about issues; another 30% focus on just voting; and the final 30% don’t even vote.

And if you’re one of that 10% and you want to help or encourage the others to get involved, ironically perhaps talking a less about politics might help.

What Democracy Club did in 2010 was help people get information specifically about their candidates in their area, and what they stood for, exactly when people needed that information to choose how to vote. We think that’s a pretty good starting point: if you’re not that into politics, but you care enough to get involved in particular issues, or simply to turn out and vote, we want to build things that help you in 2015.

And we’ve got 318 days to do it.

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