We’ve sold out young people, but not in the way you think

So, in the fall-out from the EU Referendum, here’s the much-shown graph of how three-quarters of young people polled said they would vote Remain, and how they were sold out by older people voting Leave.

EURef - Voting

But wait a minute… Sky’s final poll says only about a third of people aged 18-24 may have voted.

EURef - Turnout

So the votes for Remain as a percentage of eligible voters could actually have been the lowest in the 18-24 age group.

EURef - Adjusted

Why was turnout so low? I don’t know. Maybe it always has been. But I suggest our young people are so disengaged now because we sold them out a long time ago. What do we do about it?

And why were there no exit polls, which would give us better information?

Data sources

  Turnout Remain Leave
18-24 36% 73% 27%
25-34 58% 62% 38%
35-44 72% 52% 48%
45-54 75% 44% 56%
55-64 81% 43% 57%
65+ 83% 40% 60%

Projected voting adjusted for projected turnout

  Remain Did not vote Leave
18-24 26% 64% 10%
25-34 36% 42% 22%
35-44 37% 28% 35%
45-54 33% 25% 42%
55-64 35% 19% 46%
65+ 33% 17% 50%

5 thoughts on “We’ve sold out young people, but not in the way you think

  1. Interestingly, this Guardian article reporting on an LSE survey ‘inside mind of the voter’ suggests a MUCH higher turnout of 70%:

    “Young people cared and voted in very large numbers. We found turnout was very close to the national average, and much higher than in general and local elections.

    “After correcting for over-reporting [people always say they vote more than they do], we found that the likely turnout of 18- to 24-year-olds was 70% – just 2.5% below the national average – and 67% for 25- to 29-year-olds.”

  2. The whole issue is very complex, for example, if you take percentages of those eligible to vote the 52% is not a mandate. I also think the press, BBC News and opinion polls influenced both the last election and the referendum. Self-centred alpha male liers like Boris and Donald have far too much influence. But here is an important one I’d like to make. The over 65s is too big and varied a group. The survey recognised that 18 to 24s might be different from 25 to 35s, but why should a 75-year old think the same way as a 65-year old, particularly when you consider the very different circumstances of their formative years.

    There is a massive difference between people who were born before 1940 and those born after 1945.

    After the war there was a real age of austerity with rationing going on into the 50s. This means that the childhood and teenage years of the pre-war generation were hugely influenced by the war. For the baby boomers things just went on improving and were a lot better by the time they were teenagers (the swinging sixties). I think many of them are the ones who tend to think the past was a lot better and it is better to have sovereignty and look out for themselves without bothering about the younger generation. We were all influenced by the “Great British Empire” and pink on maps of course, but the idea of creating the EU to try to prevent future wars seems to have worked and we have had 70 years of peace between the Western European states who were always at war before that.

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