Who will win the youth vote at #GE2017

Key to the 2017 General Election has been a determination to get young people voting, to ensure they play a full part in the democratic process, according to MMU social media study.

As voting comes to a close this evening (Thursday 08 June), the political parties will be closely analysing the turnout of young people in the 20107 General Election.

It is widely thought that a higher turnout by students and young people could have a signficant effect on the final result.

While the turnout of young people in last year’s #Brexit referendum was 64 percent, younger people seem more inclined to vote for parties other than the Conservatives, and particularly for Labour, according to Bex Lewis, senior lecturer in digital marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University has just completed a study of the use of social media by the main parties to target 18-24 year olds

Jeremy Corbyn became the first UK political party leader to sign up to Snapchat. The Labour Party has matched the Conservatives during this campaign, spending around £1m on Facebook advertising.

However, says, Dr Lewis: “How they are using is could be quite interesting.

“It almost feels as if the Conservative Party isn’t particularly trying to target 18 – 24 year olds. Although it was reported that they were using so many ads in one area where Labour were doing ads to encourage 18 – 24 year olds to vote, that the ads were being drowned out by Conservative Party ads.

“There’s a difference between paid and ‘organic’ social [media]. You’ve paid social – ads, Google search results – and then there’s the kind of organic, ‘have a photo taken with people’ kind.

“The Labour Party definitely seem to be better at the organic stuff.

“It’s whether any of that translates into votes.”

The Electoral Commission has been campaigning heavily to try to encourage young people to register to vote, and their campaign achieved notable success, with 40 percent of the number of people during the election campaign being 18-24 year olds, and more than 450,000 signing up on the final day, which is four times the number during the 2015 General Election.

Said Bex Lewis: “The polls are generally saying if we get a 75 to 78 percent turnout for young people, that’s going to be crucial. And it really feels like this election is going to be down to whether young people turn out to vote, because the Labour and other party agendas are much more appealing in many ways.” 

Watch our interview with Bex Lewis here: