Youth apathy soars in wake of party conferences

More than half of 18-24 year-olds don’t know who they’ll vote for or won’t vote at all, according to the latest Times/Populus opinion poll.

Young people are less likely to vote following the party conference season according to the latest Times Populus poll. Having seen the underlying data, Left Foot Forward can reveal the number of 18-24 year-olds who won’t vote at all has increased ten percentage points from 25 per cent in mid-September to 35 per cent in October, while those unsure who to vote for has risen nine points to 19 per cent – a total of 54 per cent unaligned to any political party.

For all under-35s, the number planning to abstain is up five points to 28 per cent, with don’t knows also up five to 17 per cent. Support for the Conservatives amongst the 18-24 age group has fallen the sharpest of the two main parties, down six points to ten per cent, with Labour down three to 17 per cent. The Liberal Democrats, in line with their overall rating, stay around the 12-13 per cent mark.

The poll also shows far more 18-24 year-olds believe Labour not the Tories will spread the burden of public sector cuts more fairly compared to the population as a whole. Whereas Labour’s lead over the Opposition is seven per cent overall, it rises to 23 per cent among under-25s.

UPDATE 17.45

In response to a comment from Mike Smithson, we can confirm that at the 95 per cent confidence level, the sample size needed is 384 for a 5% confidence interval and 119 for a 10% confidence interval. The weighted base in the Populus poll for 18-24 year olds is 177 in September and 179 in October. For the combined 18-34 year olds figures it is 414 in September and 417 in October. We are therefore satisfied that the overall finding (i.e. that youth apathy has increased) is statistically significant.

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8 Responses to “Youth apathy soars in wake of party conferences”

  1. Shamik Das

    Youth apathy soars in wake of party conferences:

  2. Will Straw

    RT @shamikdas: Youth apathy soars in wake of party conferences:

  3. Ben Furber

    RT @shamikdas: Youth apathy soars in wake of party conferences:

  4. Nick

    Though this may be significant, it should probably come with a health warning – the sub-samples for individual age groups in a normal poll will be so small that they should not be taken as particularly accurate. At the very least, you need to aggregate a few of the polls over a certain period to get to a sample size that is meaningful – and even then, the sub-samples are not themselves weighted to other demographic or political factors, so the margin of error would be high.

  5. Mike Smithson

    This is meaningless twaddle and makes this site look amateurish – you cannot compare sub-samples like this because all the other weighting – demographic, gender, regional, and political are not fed it.

    See later today for a more comprehensive analysis of changes in the voting behaviour of different age groups since the general election.

  6. willstraw

    Thanks for these comments. We are satisfied that the findings are statistically significant as per the update note above.


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