Over two thirds (73%) of 16 and 17 year-olds believe they should be allowed to vote in the AV referendum on the 5th May and have their say in choosing the electoral system they will inherit at the next General Election.
As pundits predict a low turnout among the adult electorate, over 73% of young people surveyed said that, if they could vote, they would turn out to have their say.
The poll of 776 future voters (16 and 17 year olds) across the UK, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of the Institute for Citizenship and The Co-operative, gives an insight into the future of democracy on the eve of the first UK referendum for over 35 years. Contrary to popular opinion this poll, undertaken as part of the Young Citizens’ Say project to give young people a sense of ownership of the AV Referendum, shows that young people are engaged with politics and want to have their say.
Recent polls (YouGov/Sunday Times – 1st May 2011) indicate that the ‘No to AV’ campaign is at least 10 points in the lead among the electorate. However, the choice of future young voters is less clear, with 43% choosing the ‘No to AV’ campaign and supporting the existing First Past The Post system and 39% opting for change and supporting the ‘Alternative Vote’ or ‘Yes to AV’ campaign. Despite the close national results, there are clear regional differences with future voters in Scotland more likely to support AV (Yes 58%/No 32%/Don’t Know 9%) with London young people more likely to support First Past The Post (Yes 22%/No 58%/Don’t Know 20%). The full press release can be read here.
Worryingly, young people feel left out of the decision making process. A year into the Coalition Government, which has seen tuition fees trebled and the axing of the Educational Maintenance Allowance for young people, over 76% of 16-17 year-olds believe that politicians do not listen to the views of young people.
Want more information on the elections happening in your area and the referendum tomorrow? Visit http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk to find out more information and download a booklet.