The 2017 General Election looks like its going to be a victory for the Conservatives and Brexit looks like it’s going to be ‘hard’. But.. what do those who will inherit the consequences of these decisions really think?
I’m not a political pollster – polling is a precisely defined research activity with wards and marginals and all of that, it’s also fraught with danger if you try to predict the outcome of an election and get it wrong!
However, this doesn’t stop the enquiring mind taking a look at what’s going on in the most politically turbulent time that I can recall. I joined up with our friends at FieldAgent and Blauw to ask a group of younger adults (those who will inherit our decisions) what they think about Labour and Conservative, May and Corbyn, and of course…Brexit.
We asked 1,000 people aged between 18 and 44 how they would vote in the forthcoming election, what they think the outcome would be and who would make the best party leader. We also asked what would happen if the EU Referendum was held tomorrow.
For some of the questions, we used the ‘The Wisdom of Crowds’ approach (popularised in James Surowiecki’s book of the same name). We asked people what they think the outcome of the 2017 General Election will be – and over half predict a Conservative victory. What’s surprising is that more of our 18-44s said they would vote Labour than would vote Conservative and ⅓ of our Labour voters think the Conservatives will win (compare to 95% of Conservative voters thinking the Conservatives will win). My conclusion? Maybe voters are looking at the polls and drawing their conclusions, but will this lead to apathy when it comes to polling day? Will Conservative and Labour voters not turn up because the result is already in the bag?
Our survey also shows that those people who chose not to vote in the 2015 election would be twice as likely to vote Labour than vote Conservative – but of course they would still need to turn up and vote to make any difference!
Our survey (which was done prior to the Sky/C4 interviews with Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May) showed that Conservative voters were more convinced of Theresa May’s credentials as PM than Labour voters were of Jeremy Corbyn.
What surprised me most were the opinions on Brexit. We asked if the EU referendum was conducted tomorrow, how would people vote and what would be the result. In both cases the answer was emphatic – ⅔ of people would vote to remain in the EU and ⅔ predicted a ‘Remain’ result across the UK. We know a lot more about Brexit and the possible implications than we did in 2016, so are we now in a position to make a better decision? If we accept that it will take 10-20 years for the impact of Brexit to fully play out, should we be taking the opinions of our 18-44s more seriously – as it looks like they will be inheriting a future that they don’t want?
To see a lovely infographic with more details, click here