Tuesday, June 06, 2017

The Impact Of Young People Voting: Potentially 1.7m More Labour Votes


The Evening Standard published a poll three days ago that suggested 63% of 18-24 year olds say they will vote on Thursday and that 68% of them will support Jeremy Corbyn.

This would be a major change from the last election where only 43% of that age group voted, see chart above from IpsosMori.

Even if this was to happen would it change the election result?

There are approximately 6.7m 18-24 year olds living in the UK according to ONS. At the last election we know that 30% of 18-24 year olds were not registered to vote. So that meant only 4.7m were able to vote last time and 2m of them (43%) actually voted. According to IpsosMori 43% of those voting in this age group voted for Labour so 867,000 votes.

So what could happen this time? Let us assume that 90% of 18-24 year olds are registered to vote this time, so 6m of them. Let's assume that 63% of those registered actually do turn out and vote as they say, that is approx 3.8m voting. If 68% of these people do vote Labour that is 2.58m votes.

This means Labour would gain an extra 1.7m Labour votes compared to last time. That is still not enough to overturn the 2m extra votes that the Tories had at the last election but certainly enough to put Labour in serious contention.

Other factors also come into play such as the location of young people. Students tend to be concentrated in Labour leaning seats so the potential impact may not be that great if Labour just pile up votes in safe seats under our first past the post system. This has led to the promotion of apps that help students decide where to vote, as students can legally choose their home or university location, and to encourage students to register to vote in more marginal seats. These have been widely shared but whether they have made much impact remains to be seen.