Did the students renege on their side of the deal?

December 10th, 2010
2010 election analysis (MORI) CON % LAB % LD % OTH %  Turn-Out
All 37 30 24 10 65%
Male 38 28 22 12 66%
Female 36 31 26 8 64%
Men 18-24 29 34 27 10 50%
Men 25-34 42 23 30 6 56%
Men 35-54 36 28 23 13 67%
Men 55+ 41 29 16 14 76%
Women 18-24 30 28 34 9 39%
Women 25-34 27 38 27 8 54%
Women 35-54 33 31 29 8 67%
Women 55+ 42 30 21 7 73%

Why did so many fail to vote?

In all the post-election analysis of what happened on May 6th one thing stands out – the polling over-statement of the Liberal Democrats was caused by a lot of their support coming from the young who, as it turned out, failed to vote.

YouGov, for instance, in its pre-election survey with a sample of more than 6,000, found that 38% of those in its youngest age groups said they would vote Liberal Democrats. Look how that compares with the above data from MORI, a table we have featured before, that shows the demographic break-down of actual voters.

So many of those young people now saying they feel “betrayed” simply couldn’t be bothered on polling day to actually go and vote.

Why, to put it bluntly, should politicians be arsed for a section of the electorate that might make a lot of fuss about things but can’t be arsed themselves to go down to the polling station and put a X on a ballot.

Maybe the NUS leadership ought to reflect on the fact that the one segment of the population that has escaped the cuts relatively unscathed are the old – a group that was much more likely to have gone to the polls.

Would the turnout of younger voters have been higher if Aaron Porter and his team had done something about student voting in the run-up and on election day itself.

For the hard fact is that the young are suffering because they are not seen as a political force. Demos are one thing – votes in real elections are another.

Mike Smithson