Today’s election will determine the next few years of the UK’s political, economic and social future, as well as how it stands with the rest of Europe and the wider world. Voting began this morning at 7 am and will continue until 10 pm. My plea to you? Go vote!
We in the developed world sometimes take democracy for granted, but should we? It hasn’t even been a century since the UK extended the right to vote to women, and less than two-thirds of the world enjoy some form of democracy today. Perhaps we should all take a moment to remind ourselves that there are many people out there who crave the rights we have – and that this should make us more eager to exert them.
We at The Market Mogul have no editorial or political bias and are proud to publish content from all viewpoints. We don’t have an agenda to tell you who to vote for, as other media outlets might. We simply present all perspectives and believe our readers are smart enough to make their own choices. Just like the Brexit campaign, however, our plea is: make sure you vote.
The Power of Millennial Voters
Despite over 46.9 million people registered to vote in the UK, how many will actually take to the polls? In 2016, that number was less than three-quarters. Some blamed Millennials for this.
The divergence of polling results is remarkable. To give a sense of how unusual this is: on the 800 occasions since 1970 when two polling companies have published a poll on the same day, the average polling difference in the Conservative/Labour lead has been 3.5 points. Yet, in the past week or two, it has been customary to see gaps of 6-12 points. Even in a world of new political norms, this is pushing the envelope.
The main reason we are seeing such a huge difference in polls is to do with the predictions that each pollster makes regarding turnout. Some use self-reported ‘intention to vote’ of the respondent (‘self-reporting’), whereas others look at past electoral turnout of different demographics to weight the responses (‘turnout models’).
Therefore, the Tory lead differs so much because self-reporting pollsters base their figures on the assumption that those who intend to vote actually go out and do so. Meanwhile, turnout models instead factor in the fact that a huge number of Millennials don’t bother voting. In 2015, YouGov reported the week before the election that 60% of 18-24 year-olds would definitely vote. In the end, only 43% did.
There you have it: the very reason why nobody really knows which way the election will go is that nobody is certain whether young people will ever make it to the polls. Don’t assume that your party is secure (or can’t possibly win according to the polls) and get out and vote.
What’s at Stake
Only a year after the UK shocked the world when it narrowly decided to withdraw from the European Union, UK Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap general election. Many election weary Conservative voters were not thrilled by the decision whereas the more Labour-centric Millennials welcomed the chance to amend the mistake made by a turnout in the EU referendum.
As the graph below illustrates, the number of voter registrations in the run-up to the election amongst Millennials sharply increased, a fact attributed to social media platforms such as Facebook and Snapchat encouraging people to register to vote. The proportion of the electorate that is under 25 currently stands at an estimated 24.5%. This seemed to suggest a massive possibility of a Labour government and Theresa May having to leave 10 Downing Street having just gotten comfortable.
Yet, polls have put Conservatives in the leading position (though their lead has shrunk throughout the campaign). Overall, only 51% of Millennials are expected to vote, which is surprising given the expectation that they would learn from the error of the previous year. A note of caution, however, as polls have been proven to be unreliable in recent times; this estimate could be widely off. Once more, and arguably more important this time, attention will be paid to this under-25 voter turnout. The outcome of this election will determine the direction the UK will take in its unprecedented withdrawal from the EU. The future of UK workers in the EU, tax on freelance work and the chances of homeownership are just some of the things at stake for Millennials in this election.
Remember, the polling stations close at 10 pm today. So from all of us at The Market Mogul, please go and vote. As we always say here: your voice matters.