A prominent political youth platform has conducted a survey offering fascinating insight into the opinions of Great Britain and Ireland’s youth demographic. Financed by Youth Debate , the survey drew results from 1853 male and female respondents aged between 13 and 25. The survey explored a variety of issues including EU membership, immigration, Scottish independence and party allegiance.
Alex Firth, founder of Youth Debate explains, “Politics is always a hot topic however it can sometimes be difficult for the younger generation to find their voice. Youth Debate hopes to change this and give young people a platform where they can actively engage in political discussions, voice their opinions and develop an enhanced understanding of how politics influences everything from the economy and immigration to the military and education. We’re welcoming, respectful and always keen to hear everyone’s views.”
When asked to rank topics according to importance, the economy took the lead with an average ranking of 7.99. Economic optimism also appears to be on the rise with 65.87% of respondents agreeing that the British economy is on the mend. Following closely behind the economy was immigration (6.75), EU membership (6.59), government corruption (5.94) and foreign/military policy (5.39). Political disillusionment and crime levels sat at 5.19, with nationalisations/privatisations (4.97), Scottish independence (4.49) and Irish unification (2.53) drawing less concern.
With the Scottish independence referendum just days away, respondents were keen to share their thought on the big debate. As expected, England responded to ‘should Scotland become an independent country?’ with a resounding ‘no.’ Just 21.08% of English respondents thought Scotland should be given its freedom. Despite media coverage, Scottish opinion isn’t as head to head as Alex Salmond likes to portray, at least not in the younger demographic. Just 44.85% of Scots agreed, giving the ‘no’ camp a 10.3% lead. Northern Ireland and Wales came in with respective 61.25% and 75.93% ‘no’ while Ireland was all for independence with 77.74% of respondents supporting an independent Scotland.
Membership to the EU was one of the key topics explored, with an overwhelming agreeance to the question ‘is the EU beneficial to my country?’ Scottish respondents were the most assured, with a huge 80% of respondents seeing EU membership as a nationwide benefit. Ireland was close behind a 71.1% rate of agreeance, followed by England with 66.79%, Wales with 63.64% and Northern Ireland with 60.4%. When analysed according to party, every faction displayed at least 60% agreeance, bar UKIP which exhibited an 84.16% disagree response. Interestingly, the responses between males and females differed quite significantly. While agreeing females accounted for 80.68% of respondents, just 65.86% of males shared this view.
Despite a general consensus that EU membership is beneficial, 88.4% of all respondents maintained that they believed the EU was in need of reform. Respondents were also open to more countries joining the political-economic union, with 66.27% of respondents disagreeing with the statement ‘no more countries should be allowed to join the EU.’
When analysed according to age group, opinions on immigration revealed a steady correlation between age and support of foreign immigration. Under 15s were the most opposed, with 47.86% disagreeing with the statement ‘immigration is broadly beneficial to my country.’ Respondents aged 15-17 were 36.94% opposed, 18-20 year olds 34.65%, 21-23 year olds 30.3% while just 27.38% of those aged 24 years or over saw immigration as detrimental.
In addition to the included statistics, Youth Debate also covered a range of other opinions and welcomes inquiries from anyone intending to use this information. Specific statistics are available on request, for example, should a reader wish to know the number of female UKIP voters from the north-east of England, Firth encourages them to get in touch via the official Youth Debate website.
According to the statistics, 73.69% of respondents considered themselves politically active. For those advocating for more political interest from British and Irish youth, this is a hugely positive result.
Firth adds, “We are the leaders, the speakers, the workers and the keepers of the future, so don’t let your voice go to waste.”
Youth Debate welcomes the use of results in any publication, providing due credit is given.
To find out more about Youth Debate and request further detail into survey results, visit the website at: www.youthdebates.org