A plurality of the Scottish public are against allowing 16 and 17 year olds to vote in UK elections and the independence referendum.
Almost half (49%) of Scottish people oppose reducing the voting age to 16 for all UK elections, according to our recent poll. This follows the UK and Scottish government’s decision last month to allow those aged 16 and over to vote in the 2014 independence referendum in Scotland, which has raised questions about whether the voting age in UK elections should be lowered.
- 49% of the Scottish public are against allowing 16 and 17 year olds to vote in all UK elections, compared with just over a third (35%) who support this and less than one in ten (8%) are unsure of their opinion
Scottish public support is also tepid regarding the decision to lower the voting age to 16 in the independence referendum, with 46% of Scots opposing it.
- 46% of Scottish people disagree with allowing 16 and 17 year olds to vote in the Scottish referendum on independence, while over a third (36%) support this and 5% do not know
SNP voters the exception
SNP voters are an exception, with a majority in favour of reducing the voting age to 16 for both UK elections and the independence referendum. This reflects the SNP’s position on these issues.
- Nearly two-thirds (64%) of SNP supporters believe that 16 and 17 year olds should be allowed to vote in UK elections, while less than a quarter (21%) reject this claim
- This is compared to over three-quarters (79%) of Scottish Conservative voters and six in ten (60%) Labour party supporters
- Almost seven in ten (69%) SNP voters support the decision to allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote in the independence referendum, while only one in eight (16%) say they oppose this
- In contrast, only 11% of Scottish Conservatives, and just over a quarter of Labour (27%) are in favour of this decision
Public favour only one referendum question
Our poll also reveals that a majority (51%) of Scottish people think the 2014 referendum should offer only two options rather than three about whether Scotland should remain part of the UK or negotiate independence.
- 51% of the Scottish public believe the Scottish referendum should offer a straight choice over independence
- Over a third (36%) of Scots say that a third option to extend the powers of the Scottish parliament should be included
- Almost one in ten (9%) people are unsure of their opinion
While a majority of Scots supporting the Conservatives (77%) and the Labour Party (52%) agree that there should only be one referendum question, public opinion is more divided amongst SNP voters, with 48% in favour of a third option and 44% supporting a straight choice over independence.