A recent paper in The Political Quarterly provides insights into the extent of declining electoral participation amongst young British voters and discusses the need to examine in further detail whether we are witnessing a profound generational shift in youth politics.
The relatively lower proportion of young citizens casting their votes at general elections has previously been attributed to differences in stages of the political life-cycle. However, unprecedented declines in turnout at the last two general elections raise the question: are today’s young citizens politically distinct from their older counterparts, and are their participatory characteristics likely to adhere to them as they age? Research by Edward Phelps indicates this might well be the case.
In this paper, Phelps presents the first stages of a longitudinal investigation into the participatory characteristics of ten age cohorts between 1964 and 2001. This research shows that decline in participation from young voters is due to a generational change, and contests the view that low turnout a result of political apathy and disinterest.
Verity Warne | alfa
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