The next election is set to be the closest and most unpredictable in living memory. The British political system is being shaken up in a way not seen for at least 70 years, with the Conservative and Labour parties no longer the dominant electoral forces they once were. It is in this context that young people could find themselves becoming a significant electoral force. The Scottish Referendum demonstrated the impact that the youth vote can have: yet young people still need to be convinced of the importance of voting. They remain less likely to vote than older generations, and many are disengaged from traditional politics completely.
Based on a representative survey and focus groups, this report presents a detailed look at 18 to 25-year-olds ahead of the general election: whether they plan to vote, what issues are they concerned about, and what policies would make them more likely to vote. It also looks at what larger reforms young people want to see, and what tools can be used to nudge them towards the voting booth. The research finds over half of young people say they will vote in 2015, and a further quarter say they will probably vote. The task for political parties and third sector organisations is to turn this intention into action.
The research shows that young people want clear policies that tackle unemployment, affordable housing, living costs, the cost of education and mental health. They also want to see more diversity among MPs, better behaviour and better use of social media to communicate policies to young people. The youth vote is there to be won: this report calls on all parties to realise this potential and reap the rewards come May 2015.