Winning the millennial vote

Topic: Local Government

Millennials Voting
The highest voter turnout in the British 2015 elections came from the 65+ age group (source: IPSOS Mori). Just let that sink in for a moment.
Millennials (people born between 1982 and 2000) make up a quarter of the UK population, and are predicted to hit the 17 million mark by 2019 (source: Inkling), yet this huge group is the least likely to vote.

It’s no secret that millennials are disillusioned with politics.

According to a Telefónica survey, 71% don’t believe voting makes a difference, so it’s hardly surprising that they’re not rushing to the polls.

Results are important to us, and sadly, politics isn’t a place for results. (source: Values & Capitalism)

Millennials are the most liberal generation the UK’s ever seen, and tend to have a competitive, individualist mindset (source: The Economist), but that’s not reflected in mainstream politics.
It’s a vicious circle: not voting leads to the election of MPs whose views may not represent younger voters, and the issues that they consider important (unemployment, the economy, and social equality) aren’t prioritised. So they continue to have little faith in the power of politics to enact real change.

It should be getting easier to engage with millennials…

Politicians are better able to communicate with the electorate than ever before: 90% of 18-24 year olds own a mobile phone, and check their phones on average 43 times per day (sources: Ofcom and SDL).
But in fact, turnout at the 2001 election was 59.4% – the first time this had fallen below 70% since 1918! We were back up to 66.1% for the 2015 elections, but have some way to go.
Disillusionment aside, there’s an additional hurdle in that, since 2014, nobody is automatically eligible to vote; you have to register in advance.
While you can do this relatively quickly online, 40% of Britons aren’t aware of this (source: Electoral Commission). Since millennials are already less likely to vote, making it harder to do so presents a challenge.

What’s the secret to getting younger people involved?

As a politician, you need to reflect the views of individualistic younger votes.

Do your research

Ask young people what matters to them, and make it easy for them to provide feedback. SMS Surveys work particularly well, with a 98% open rate, and a 45% response rate (source: Leads360), and help you capitalise on the almost ubiquitous use of mobile phones!

Wherever possible, give straightforward answers

It’s exhausting watching interviewers press politicians for a yes or no answer. If you can be clear about your position, be clear.

Present a balanced argument

One side takes x position, the other takes y, and the electorate watch them slug it out, none the wiser as to the actual pros and cons. Credibility lies in the ability to acknowledge both sides of the argument, and present data-backed conclusions.

75% of millennials want to learn things in general and become smarter (source: Adweek)

An excellent example is an online survey I took as a student asking me to select the statements I most agreed with across a range of issues. The program then advised me which political party most closely shared my views (which, interestingly, wasn’t the party I had anticipated voting for!).

Use video content

90% watch digital video every month (source: eMarketer), a great medium through which to make your case.

Be authentic

Use social media to tell your story; why you’re passionate about certain policies and why we should care, too.

Can we help?

These tips have wider applications than politics; all organisations need to understand their customer base, present their ideas clearly, and refrain from over-stating the benefits! Esendex has several solutions for gathering customer feedback, from SMS Surveys to Mobile Journeys; try them out online or call our team on 0345 356 5758 to learn more.

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riordan