Survey reveals young people less likely to vote

Hands up, voting

21st November 2018

Following Jersey’s 2018 General Election which saw just 43.38% of those registered to vote turnout, the States Greffe and States of Jersey’s Strategic Policy, Performance and Population Department have commissioned a survey with ComRes to find out why public engagement with local politics is so low.  The survey reveals a significant difference in political engagement between different age groups.

Whilst 67% of adults say they are interested in Jersey politics, those aged 55+ are more likely to have voted in Jersey’s 2018 General Election than those aged 16-34, with a 73% and 32% turnout respectively.  Half of 16-34 year olds say they aren’t interested in Jersey politics (51%) – this is significantly higher than the other age groups (35-54 28% vs 55+ 24%).

Place of origin also has an influence on voter engagement in Jersey. Interest in Jersey politics is broadly consistent, with two thirds of those born and living in Jersey (64%), and three quarters (75%) of those living in Jersey but born elsewhere in the British Isles, and only slightly fewer (58%) of those born in Portugal, or Madeira, but living in Jersey report being interested in Jersey politics.

However, more of a difference is evident when it comes to turnout on election day. Six in ten of those who were born and live in Jersey, or born elsewhere in the British Isles and live in Jersey say they voted in the Jersey general election (57% and 63% respectively), compared to one in six of those who were born in Portugal or Madeira (17%) and half of those born outside of Europe (46%).

The top five reasons non-voters give for not voting in Jersey’s 2018 General Election are:

  1. Couldn’t get to a polling station (23%)
  2. Not interested in the election (11%)
  3. Didn’t know enough about the candidates (11%)
  4. Unsatisfied with the quality of the candidates (10%)
  5. Deliberately decided not to vote (9%)

The top five changes respondents suggest will make them more likely to vote in the next election are:

  1. Candidates who better represent my values and the things that are important to me (84%)
  2. Evidence that election representatives can make a real difference in the community (84%)
  3. Being able to vote online (69%)
  4. Ability to rank candidates on the ballot paper (from least to most preferred) (64%)
  5. Better access to information about the candidates and their policies (62%)

74% and 67% of voters and non-voters, respectively, agree that the States should do more to boost voter registration.  A large proportion of voters and non-voters also say, 48% and 41% respectively, that a change to a political party system instead of individual candidates would make them more likely to vote in the next election.

The Deputy Greffier of the States, Lisa Hart, who oversaw the Vote.je election campaign, comments on the survey, saying, “This survey provides the evidence we need to inform how we inspire the public to vote in the run-up to the next election in 2022.  Whilst every age group and demographic is important, we must do more to encourage the younger generations and those from outside the British Isles to engage with local politics so that they have more of an awareness, influence and impact on the future of Jersey.”

ComRes interviewed 1,006 adults aged 16+ living in Jersey via telephone between 22nd August and 20th September 2018.  Data is weighted to be representative of the Jersey population. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full data tables are available at www.comresglobal.com.

Read the full report here: States of Jersey Voter Engagement Report 2018.pdf

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