There has been a lot of buzz around the young voters (18-30), and what politicians can do to make them go out and vote. Channel 4 have been actively pushing young people to vote with both their Twitter hashtag #WhyVote and their plans to stop broadcasting digital channel E4 for Election day. Actions like these are seemingly doing the job; with 74.1% planning TO vote, 13.60% NOT planning to vote and 12.30% unsure. This is a high increase from the approximate 55% of under 30s who voted in the 2010 election (according to British Election Study).
According to the survey carried out by OnePoll, nearly 34% of young people are planning on voting for the Labour party. This was followed by 26% for the Conservatives.
Party (People who are voting):
Liberal Democrats 8.23%
The Liberal Democrats do not seem as popular with under 30s in the current polls, with only 8% of the vote (below Greens and UKIP). Although no explicit reason is given, one contributing factor may be Nick Clegg’s U-turn on his promise to cut university tuition fees during the last election (2010).
85.53% of Scottish respondents are planning to vote but with 40% planning to vote for the SNP questions have been asked about what could happen to the overall result. Could the SNP be included in a coalition?
The under 30s who are not planning to vote (or are unsure), were asked which parties they would vote for if they had to. Of these, 27% chose Labour, and 20% chose UKIP. This result suggests that it is these parties who are the most likely to lose out as a result of young people’s disinterest with politics.
Party (People who are not voting)
Liberal Democrats 7.75%
The under 30s who were not planning to vote were also asked their reasons behind this decision. The most common reason was that they were just not interested (27.80%). This was closely followed by the feeling that they had nobody they would want to vote for (25.48%). Many explained that they “don’t know who to vote for as often parties don’t do what they say” and “don’t understand/ don’t know enough to choose”. This would suggest that making policies simpler to understand may be key for parties if they want to engage with this group of voters.
42.70% of non-voters stated that they would be more likely to vote in an Election if there were more policies that applied directly to them. This was the main thing that would get them to vote but it was closely followed by the introduction of E-Voting (39.10%). E-Voting would allow people to vote on the internet, rather going to the Polling station or via postal vote, thus increasing convenience for many people. 33% of young people overall stated that it would highly increase the likelihood of them voting.
Other suggestions to persuade young people to vote include:
A fairer voting system (i.e. proportional representation) 28.20%
Being able to vote for leader of party, as well as the party you want to be in power 22.20%
election young voters
“By having clearer set of policies for each party”.
“Being able to vote on specific policies, instead of parties to see who stands for what.”
“Politicians being bound to the promises they make”
“Politicians who have the ability of keeping their promises”
“Voting for a party I want to vote for, rather than the ‘least worst’ party”
As well as the introduction of E-Voting, many parties, including Labour, Lib Dems, Greens, SNP and others, also believe that the voting age should be lowered to 16 years old. Young People were asked whether they agree with this; 56% said NO and 26% saying yes. This shows a huge disagreement among those most affected by this proposal and demonstrates, to some degree, a separation between what politicians think we want and what voters actually want.
When asked which policies were most important to them, the NHS, the economy and education were the top 3 policies. Only 13% chose the EU policy as important to them which may be bad news for UKIP who hold the EU amongst their main policies.
Health care 59.60%
Law and order 18.70%
Local Government 13.40%
Foreign and defence 12.70%
Rural Affairs 6.10%
Although the stats show a potentially high increase in young people voting since the last election we still can’t know for sure whether they will actually turn out. What we do know however is that with a third planning to vote Labour, their votes could be instrumental in the outcome of this election… We will find out on Friday!
Tweet us at @OnePoll with your reasons to vote, and your thoughts on the young people’s vote.
(This survey was carried out from 29/04/2015 – 01/05/2015)