60% of Otago people plan to vote

Fewer Otago residents have indicated they plan to vote in this year's local body elections than any other region, a poll shows.

But the poll shows far more voters intend to vote than probably will, perhaps meaning Otago people are just more honest than residents of other regions.

The poll, by Wellington-based UMR Research, asked 1000 New Zealanders: "How certain are you to vote in the upcoming local authority elections?"

Nationally, 66% said they werecertain to vote, while in Otago, only 60% said the same.

Voter numbers have been decreasing for the past decade, with just 44% nationally voting in 2007.

Dunedin's figures then were 47.4%, though two Otago districts, Central Otago and Waitaki, had turnouts of more than 60%.

UMR research manager Gavin White said the difference between voters' intentions and actions might be because it was "socially desirable" for people to say they would vote, but because local elections were not "such a big deal" in the media, and because of the effort of postal voting, more said they would vote than actually did.

Asked if he thought Otago people were more honest about the issue, he said he had seen no evidence of that.

"That doesn't mean to say they aren't. It just means I haven't seen any evidence."

david.loughrey@odt.co.nz

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