Understanding the Nation: Election story Part 1


25th June 2024

Walnut Unlimited

Understanding the Nation: Election story Part 1

With the hype of a general election, and particularly this poll, much is written about voting intentions. But how are people actually feeling about the vote on 4th July?

For most people it came out of the blue, in the lead up to summer where holiday planning, the Euros and our obsession with whether the sun is going to make an appearance is more important!

So we’ve asked the public what they actually think and feel about the up and coming ballot.

How do the public feel?

6 in 10 have negative emotions towards the general election.

More have negative than positive emotions towards the 4th July vote, but it’s probably not as extreme as you would expect from what we typically see in the media.

The predominant feeling is uncertainty. This is often the case in the lead up to a general election, but feelings of uncertainty are driving our need for a plan.

Uncertainty is stressful for humans, even more so than predictable negativity[1]. As humans we crave control, and this is incredibly important for a large majority at this point in time.


So do the public feel they will gain control through their vote

The majority feel a sense of personal responsibility with their vote. It’s common sense that personal impact is a clear motivator.

Research shows that a perception of greater autonomy increases the feeling of certainty and reduces stress. Especially within larger groups we want the freedom to make our own choices.

But a substantial minority do feel a sense of uncertainty around the impact of the general election or don’t feel they have agency in the role their vote has. This could be what is driving feels of uncertainty overall.

A portion, though, do feel positive about the vote

4 in 10 feel positive towards the general election. This is driven by a sense of hope.

Hope is an important emotion – it helps us to manage uncertainty, so we feel less stressed.





And our long term tracking shows that feelings of positivity in life in general have risen significantly in the last quarter – reaching peaks of positivity seen at key points of hope during the pandemic (35%) and nearly matching a high of 39% seen in August 2019.

Is this because it feels like the change the public want?

We would hypothesise that we’ve seen this uplift in positivity because the general election is acting as an anchor point for a majority of the general public; it marks a point for potential political change.

But as recent data shows, ‘the public is as critical now of how Britain is governed as they have ever been’[2].  And a substantial portion of the population are likely questioning the genuineness of the political change that is actually on offer to them.

So even though ‘change’ is felt by the majority to be what the country needs right now, there is a potential for levels of uncertainty and unease to remain just as high after 4th July as they do today.

Coming next week! Understanding the Nation: Election story Part 2. What role is the economy really playing in this general election?

Interested in reading one of our Understanding the Nation reports? Or would you like to add your own questions to our tracker? Get in touch with the team today wal_utn@walnutunlimited.com


[1] Why we’re hardwired to hate uncertainty | Marc Lewis | The Guardian

[2] Trust and confidence in Britain’s system of government at record low | National Centre for Social Research (natcen.ac.uk)

Written by Walnut Unlimited Email Walnut Unlimited

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