PLAYING football or computer games, watching films or reading poetry: Scots have far better things to do than get involved in local party politics according to a new poll which aims to highlight the need for democratic reform.

The poll of over 1000 people, commissioned from the Electoral Reform Society by organisers of the Act As If We Own The Place campaign, shows that only one percent of Scots say that local politics interest them more watching television, cooking, taking exercise or other hobbies. A similar number listed knitting as their favourite activity.

The numbers are surprising given how engaged Scots are presumed to be in politics in the wake of the independence referendum.

Organisers of the campaign, which launches tomorrow, say the poll is a damming indictment of the lack of relevance local party politics now plays in people's everyday lives.

Researchers found that 51 percent of all those surveyed would rather go to the pub with their friends than queue at the polling station, while 46 percent would prefer to stay in bed than vote in a local election. Almost a quarter said they would finish the ironing instead of exercising their democratic rights.

However the poll also revealed that a significant number are interested in improving their local communities, with 43 percent saying they would give up at least half a day a month to get involved. Some 23 percent they would volunteer a day a month to help organise activity in their local area.

Willie Sullivan, director of the Electoral Reform Society, said: "The big question is why would nearly a quarter of Scots rather do the ironing than pull on the main democratic lever offered to them? Perhaps it's because they don’t think that lever is working for them. Power in Scotland is too centralised, too top down, and too far away from most people.

"It seems it's not only the US where liberal democracy needs a life support machine. Our diagnosis is that people want power over their own lives and their own communities and don’t feel the current set up lets them."

Martin Avila, development director at Kinning Park Complex (KPC), a community centre in the south of Glasgow which was saved from closure after members of the local community staged a sit-in for almost two months, said that while people were unlikely to sit through a council committee meeting they were hungry for ways to get involved in affecting change. Tomorrow's campaign launch will take place in the centre.

"We're finding people want a chance to come together and engage with local and global issues even though they are quite switched off by party politics, he said. "On one hand you have a growing disillusionment – a lot of good people feel a growing despair. But at the same time you have others saying we can do this differently."

He claimed the popularity of social events at KPC such as Going Global, featuring bands, DJs, food and cocktails – held in response to Teresa May's statement that those claiming to be "citizens of the world" were "citizens of nowhere" – and an EU pot luck meal, held days after Brexit, as well a skill-sharing projects in everything from bike repair to gardening, demonstrated that.

The campaign, which calls on locals to take democracy into their own hands, will hold events in "most" towns and cities across Scotland ahead of the local elections in May next year with meetings already planned in Dundee, Fife, Dumfries, Oban, Inverness and Kirriemuir in coming months. Organisers want communities to have more say on issues that effect their quality of life from housing and education to land reform and local planning.

Land reform campaigner Lesley Riddoch, who is also backing the campaign said: "Unfortunately our current over-sized, bureaucratic and unloved system of "local" government has given local democracy a bad name.

"Not only are few folk weeping for councils as the Scottish Government bypasses and removes power and cash from them, they fear that restoring town and island councils will necessarily mean more superannuated directors of education - each earning more than Nicola Sturgeon.

"It's up to this campaign to prove that Scotland can have a powerful local democracy without creating more top-heavy bureaucracy."