Voter turn-out figures for last General Election
THE voter turn-out figure for the last General Election (2005) was 61.4 per cent and those least likely to cast a vote were the 18-24s. In 2005, only 38 per cent of this age group went to the polls. Are the remaining 62 per cent representative of a disenf
THE voter turn-out figure for the last General Election (2005) was 61.4 per cent and those least likely to cast a vote were the 18-24s. In 2005, only 38 per cent of this age group went to the polls. Are the remaining 62 per cent representative of a disenfranchised generation or have young people simply become fatigued by a combination of spin, political peccadilloes, armed conflict and sleaze? According to a 2003 poll, undertaken by Populus, which looked at political engagement, 39 per cent of young people felt that the main parties were too alike and so it did not really matter who took control. Another 30 per cent said voting in a General Election was irrelevant to their lives, and nearly half, 45 per cent, thought the main political parties had nothing to say on the really important matters.
All predictions for the 2010 election are that this level of voter response (in terms of turnout) will be repeated so the Ely Standard decided to ask our first survey group questions about their political/social involvement and interests.
We talked to Sixth Form students from the City of Ely Community College and the King's School.
Just over 70 per cent said they would definitely vote when they were eligible to do so, but only 30 per cent of this group had a clear idea about which party they would vote for when the time came.
Perhaps the most surprising finding from our survey was that not one of our students knew who their local MP was. When we talked to them in detail about local issues; lack of amenities, future job prospects and affordable housing were top of their list of concerns. Asked about national issues, most were concerned about employment and, again, perhaps surprisingly, next in line was the NHS, then climate control, followed by the economy. On international issues, their biggest concern again was health followed closely by climate change and poverty.
Read our student interviews.