Understanding Society Scientific Conference 2019 - , University of Essex

Was there a 'Youthquake' in the 2017 general election?

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Day:Tue 2 Jul
  • Patrick Sturgis, LSE

Studies using data from the British Election Study and the British Social Attitudes survey have concluded that the case for a significant rise in turnout amongst young people at the 2017 general election remains unproven. A limitation of these data sets for assessing the so-called Youthquake thesis is the small number of younger voters they contain. In this research note we use data from Understanding Society to produce more robust estimates of turnout amongst people aged under thirty between the 2010, 2015, and 2017 general elections. Our findings support the claim that turnout increased markedly among voters in this age group in 2017. They also demonstrate that the increase in youth turnout was not specific to 2017 but, rather, represented a continuation of a change between 2010 and 2015. Our analysis confirms the heightened importance of age as a predictor of vote choice in 2017, with younger voters significantly more likely to vote Labour compared to 2010 and 2015.