New Times,
New Thinking.

  1. Politics
  2. UK Politics
9 June 2017updated 01 Aug 2021 8:34am

Thanks to Jeremy Corbyn, young people swayed the 2017 general election result

Turning out in large numbers, 18 to 24-year-olds voting Labour stopped the Tories winning a majority.

By Anoosh Chakelian

We don’t have official figures yet, but early estimates suggest a huge young voters’ turnout played a big part in Labour’s gains.

There is no way of knowing exactly how many 18 to 24-year-olds voted at the moment, but the overall turnout figure is estimated to be 68.7 per cent – up from 66.1 per cent in 2015 – and commentators suggest this includes an unusually high turnout among the young.

Polling company YouGov had the most accurate picture of the result, its findings showing the gap narrowing and predicting a hung parliament scenario. It is also the polling company that allowed most for the scenario of significant numbers of young people voting.

An ICM poll a week ago found that 63 per cent of young people said they were “absolutely certain” to vote, and estimates now suggest it could be even higher. The percentage flying around at the moment, reported by Sky News and various other outlets but yet to be confirmed, is that turnout among 18 to 24-year-olds could be as high as 72 per cent. This would be an astonishing increase on 2015, when 43 per cent of young voters were estimated to have turned out, and on the EU referendum, in which it was estimated that 64 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds voted.

As the i points out, this would mean a huge departure from recent history – in 2005, only 37 per cent of young people voted, and in 2001 it was 39 per cent.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

Labour’s surge is underpinned by young voters. All the polling beforehand showed it was the most popular party among 18 to 24-year-olds, with YouGov finding 71 per cent  would vote Labour (compared with just 15 per cent backing the Conservatives.)

Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign focused heavily on young people – a key manifesto pledge being to scrap tuition fees. His campaign style – rallies across the country, and fewer stage-managed speeches and press conferences than Theresa May – also appealed more to this demographic.

In addition, Labour had viral news on its side. As BuzzFeed reported, pro-Corbyn articles by “alt-left” sites were shared on an enormous scale on social media. I hear that nearly 25 per cent of UK Facebook users watched a Momentum video on the website in the penultimate week of campaigning. This is a particularly effective way of reaching young people, and inspiring them to vote – something the Tories weren’t as good at.

Content from our partners
An innovative approach to regional equity
ADHD in the criminal justice system: a case for change – with Takeda
The power of place in tackling climate change