Politicians beware: younger voters may bite back

Document type
Corporate author(s)
Intergenerational Foundation
Intergenerational Foundation
Date of publication
14 January 2015
Children and Young People
Social welfare
Material type

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Young people seem to be increasingly being ignored by the major political parties because of a perception that they don’t turn out to vote, a trend which perpetuates further disengagement between young people and politics. Too many young people are used to thinking that they have no reason to vote because they don’t have the power to change anything.

This report challenges these preconceptions by quantifying the number of parliamentary seats in which relatively small increases in turnout among voters aged 18 to 34 could be enough to unseat the incumbent MP. The results found that there are 41 Westminster seats where if turnout among voters aged 18 to 34 was less than 5% higher it could be enough to change the result from the last general election in 2010. In 20 of these seats a increase in turnout of less than 2% would have been enough.

The report also estimated the possible impact it could have on the next general election if 16- and 17-year olds were being given the vote. In 91 constituencies, the number of 16- and 17-year olds is greater than the majority of the sitting MP.