13% of young voters to snub parties


Published: Wednesday 11th March 2015 by The News Editor

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More than one in eight young people have already decided they will either not bother to vote on May 7 or spoil their ballot, according to a poll.

Research by uSurv for the Press Association also found some 56% of 18 to 30-year-olds admitted not knowing the name of their current MP.

The results emerged with less than two months to go until the general election. Both Ed Miliband and David Cameron have been trying to woo younger voters, with the Prime Minister stressing help to get on the housing ladder and the Labour leader promising to cut tuition fees and guarantee jobs.

The survey suggested the economy was narrowly the most important issue for the age group, with 14.5% citing it compared to 12.9% who said immigration and 12.3% health.

The respondents were most likely to be planning to vote Labour, with 21.3% saying they would back the party. Ukip was more popular than the Tories, by 11.4% to 10.1%, while 17.1% wanted to keep their choice private.

But 13.1% said they were either not intending to vote or would be spoiling their ballot paper.

Some 43.5% claimed to know who their local MP was, against 56.5% who said they had no idea.

Mita Desai, 24, Chair of Trustees at the British Youth Council, said: “What the figures show essentially is that young people are massively worth fighting for, and political parties need to engage with them on issues that they are passionate about.

“Certainly politicians are not talking the language that engages young people. It comes across as a white, middle class, ‘middle-aged’ point of view and therefore there are many who feel disengaged.

“Voting gives you power and if there is a proportion in society that don’t have access to this power, it is the job of politicians to engage them.”

Commenting on people indicating they would spoil their ballots, she added: “It is still a way of exercising the power and showing that young people don’t feel like the issues that affect them are being addresses in a language they understand.”

Michael Farni, chief executive of youth organisation Bite The Ballot, said that even if it meant spoiling the ballot, it was important to vote.

He added: “Spoiling the ballot is a far greater statement than not turning up at all. It shows that you took up the democratic rights, but you’re not quite happy with what is on offer.”

He continued: “There are no surprises that people have got no idea who their local MP is, and that is because they are not being engaged.

“There is no effort whatsoever to engage young people in the in the democratic process.”

:: uSurv questioned 1,000 people aged 18 to 29 online between February 25 and 27, with the sample selected to represent the gender and regional breakdowns of the UK according to the 2011 census.

Published: Wednesday 11th March 2015 by The News Editor

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