First time voters opt for parties of the left

First time voters opt for parties of the left

Voting Intention

In our study, we interviewed 503 Britons aged 17-22, who would not have been old enough to vote in 2010, but will have reached 18 by the time of the general election in May 2015.

The first thing to note is that this cohort of voters, born during the years of the Major administration, are much more likely to opt for parties of the left-of-centre, with 41% saying they will vote Labour to 26% voting Conservative (the comparative figure for the whole voting age population is 33% Labour vs 29% Conservative).

Voting Intention

Following a similar pattern, UKIP seems to have sunk almost without a trace among this age band of voters. Instead, a fifth (19%) have opted for the Greens.


Now that Euroscepticism has become associated squarely with right-wing politics, this trend to err left of the centre of British politics is also apparent among this generation’s thoughts on Europe. Three fifths (62%) think the UK’s membership of the European Union is a good thing, with only 14% saying it is a bad thing.

Attitudes towards the European Union

Similarly, two thirds (67%) said they would vote to remain in the European Union in a referendum, with 19% claiming they would vote to leave. This is quite out of line with the voting age public general who in our current polling are evenly divided on leaving or staying.

The economy

However, on the economy this new generation of voters is less out of line with the adult population as a whole. Generally speaking, first time voters have a mixed view of the state of the economy (26% good vs. 33% bad) but still trust David Cameron and George Osborne on the economy more than Ed Miliband and Ed Balls, even if by a modest margin.

Economic trust

However, even starker than the rest of the voting population, first time voters have clearly less trust in any of the major economic teams, with a plurality (29%) saying they trusted none of the three teams listed (including 49% of first time Green voters).

Read more about the results of our study in this article from the Observer and watch out for future release on other aspects of the study.

First Time Voters

Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 503 Britons aged 17-22 from 18th to 22nd December 2014. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria on age and gender.