The UK election has certainly caught public interest – thanks largely to the televised debates – but it seems that young voters are still disenchanted by the ballot with just over half of 18 to 24-year-olds having registered to vote.
Dr Jennifer Hudson of University College London: “Political scientists like to distinguish between formal politics, which we might like to think of as turning out to vote, writing to an MP, giving money to a campaign and informal politics which may be discussing politics, signing onto a petition, demonstrating, or showing up to a rally or an event, and those are things that young people tend to try and participate in a bit more. We have not captured that particularly well.”
Students form an important part of that group and count for an estimated 1.5 million electors. Most will be voting for the first time. What is their verdict on this election?
One young woman said: “To be honest I am kind of indifferent. All the politicians, all the main parties have their good points and bad points. They all copy ideas off each other, so we will just see what happens really.”
A young male student said: “What we see is a group of middle aged white men who we can’t empathise with, we can’t relate to – they look like our dads. And we don’t feel that they understand the issues that are most important.”
The televised debates do seem to have spurred a rise in voter interest in general, perhaps youngsters are becoming more engaged now political campaigning has finally embraced the digital age.
Young UK voters more politically engaged by TV