As Labour mulls a pledge to lower the voting age to 16, YouGov finds the idea widely opposed – even by Labour voters and younger generations
The next Labour manifesto will include a commitment to lowering the voting age from 18 to 16, shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan signalled last week. Mr Khan champions the move as a way of “reinvigorating politics,” by combining it with improved citizenship education. Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Williams, whose party supports the move, says agreement with Labour could help them form a coalition in 2015.
A new poll by YouGov finds that voters of all ages and politics oppose the idea.
60% of British adults are against ‘reducing the voting age to 16 for all UK elections.’ Only 20% support the idea, while 16% neither support nor oppose and 4% don’t know.
Conservative and UKIP voters are the most opposed, by 71%-11% and 75%-11% respectively. Majorities of Labour and Liberal Democrat voters are also against the idea, however, by 54%-29% and 56%-30% respectively.
Even the majority of young people do not want 16 and 17 year olds to have the vote. 57% of 18-24 year olds oppose the move, compared to around 51% of 25-59 year olds and 78% of those over 60 – the most wary group of all.
Critics say the move is an attempt by Labour to shore up the youth vote. YouGov conducted a youth-only poll with a large sample of 18-24 year olds in June. 23% said ‘Labour best reflects the views of people like me’ while 12% said the same of the Conservatives.