London Student

Age replaces class as key voting predictor – latest report suggests

A new report from the Intergenerational Foundation (IF) has concluded that age is to replace class as a key indicator for voting predictions.

The report titled ‘Youth Quake: Young people and the 2017 General Election’, found that the 2017 election turnout for 18-24 year olds was 64 per cent, a significant increase from the 43 per cent turnout in 2015.

The difference between younger voters and all other citizens also shrank, from minus 23 points in 2015 to minus 4 points in 2017.

The Labour party was the clear winner amongst this age group attracting 62 per cent of 18-24 year old, compared to just 27 per cent for the Conservative party. This large gap, of 35 per cent, was placed down to Labour’s ability to capture votes from third parties, such as the Liberal Democrats and the Greens, and also through success with inspiring non-voters to visit the ballot box.

Hermione Thompson, Birkbeck Labour student member and policy consultant told London Student: “The Labour Party appealed to young people not simply, as some Tories have tried to claim, because they were attracted by the promise of abolishing tuition fees, but because of what Labour’s manifesto promises represented: investment in society and people from all backgrounds, to create a more equitable society.

“Labour’s policies recognised that education is one of the most powerful tools we have, and the party’s vision of making higher education accessible to as many as possible clearly resonated with a generation which is more and more vocal about social justice and the role of the government in delivering it.”

Labour attracted 62 per cent of 18-24 year old, compared to just 27 per cent for the Conservatives

Angus Hanton, IF Co-founder comments, “This was a huge turnaround from the 2015 election when the median actual voter was already 51 years of age and there were fears that the change in the age profile of voters would lead Britain towards a gerontocracy.”

Dr James Sloam, who joint-authored the report, comments, “The increased youth turnout in 2017 demonstrated that young people are interested in politics. However, the surge in youth participation also reflected a strong reaction against austerity and Brexit. And, supporters of Labour and Jeremy Corbyn were actually less trusting of politicians and parties than the average young person. Clearly there is much political parties can do to better address the issues that affect young people.”

Joint report author, Muhammad Rakib Ehsan adds, “Britain’s young people are not only more likely to consume political information through social media – they are also more likely to trust such information on these platforms. The General Election signalled a new dawn for electioneering in the UK”.

“Youth Quake: Young people and the 2017 General Election”, authored by Dr James Sloam and Muhammad Rakib Ehsan, Royal Holloway, University of London, investigates turnout by younger generations at the General Election, political party offers, and communications strategies undertaken to appeal to younger voters.

The full report can be read here.

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