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The Curtice, Fisher and Lessard-Phillips study (Curtice 6.33 et al)101 examine the circumstances before voters and the impact on voter turn-out in the 2001 and 2005 General elections. They found, based on the British Elections Study, that 59 percent of people who had no interest in politics voted in 1997 but the turn-out level of this category of people dropped to 31 percent in 2001 and remained at 31 percent in 2005. These elections failed to attract people who were already less motivated to vote.102 By comparison, 87 percent of people who had 'a great deal' of interest in politics voted in 1997, but the proportion of such people who voted in 2001 and 2005 dropped only slightly, to approximately 81 percent each time. Curtice et al also show that the proportion of people in the latter group, i.e. with 'a great deal' or 'quite a lot' of interest in politics has remained very steady over the past twenty years, at about 30 percent. Therefore, the electorate does not appear to have become more 'disengaged' from politics in 2001 and 2005 than in 1997 but turn-out fell amongst those who were already disengaged from the political process, the voters least likely to vote and those most in need of persuading. This supports the APE findings about the increasing inequalities in voter turn-out discussed above.

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