Young people are, it seems, being increasingly 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 18–34 could be enough to unseat the incumbent MP. The results found that there are 41 Westminster seats where if turnout among voters aged 18–34 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 an 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.
These findings should help to challenge the perception among young people that there is no point in them voting, because it shows that there are many places where if just a few more of them took the time to vote it could have a big impact on who holds power after the next general election.