According to new research, most young people aged 14-25 would be likely to vote in an election and would be more likely to if they could do so online. However, they don’t see social networking as particularly useful for furthering a cause, favouring instead an email to their Member of Parliament.
A recent YouGov poll for the Citizenship Foundation interviewed almost 4,000 14-25 year-olds about their attitudes to political participation, politicians and power in the United Kingdom.
- The majority of respondents said they would be likely to vote, with 59 per cent seeing voting as the most useful way of participating in local or national politics.
- 32 per cent said they were knowledgeable about “the way that local and national government works”; of those, 71 per cent said the internet was a source of their news.
- 85 per cent had never joined a campaigning group in their local community (fairly consistent across the age ranges), and 50 per cent thought doing so would make no difference to the issues the tackle (also fairly consistent).
- 51 per cent had never joined a campaigning group on a social networking site, but 42 per cent had; however 65 per cent thought doing so would make no difference.
- 54 per cent said they would be more likely to vote if they could do so online. Interestingly, 78 per cent said they had never contacted a TV or radio show (by phone, text or email) to express their views.
- Email was seen as the most effective tool for making a political difference online. This doubles at the top end of the age bracket. Twitter scores very low and only increases fractionally with older respondents; although interestingly there is a significant spike among 16 year-olds (almost treble the score of younger age groups).
The research was commissioned to mark the Citizenship Foundation’s 20th year.