It was the young wot 'won' it for Jeremy Corbyn

Labour Party boosted by biggest youth turnout at general election for 25 years, says study

Corbyn supporters
Jeremy Corbyn speaks to a crowd of young supporters in Cambridge
(Image credit: Rob Stothard/Getty Images)

Britain's young people helped Jeremy Corbyn to upset the odds at the general election, turning out to vote in their biggest numbers for 25 years, new figures show.

A study from Ipsos Mori reveals how Labour increased its share of the vote from 30 per cent in 2015 to 40 per cent this month, with age apparently replacing class as the biggest determiner of how people cast their ballot. According to the study, the gap between voters of different social classes has narrowed more than ever before.

As well as appealing to young people, the middle classes and black and ethnic minority groups, Labour also expanded its core vote.

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"The result was made possible by a strengthening of the party's traditional supporters," the International Business Times says.

Golden age

At the 2005 general election, 18 to 24-year-olds accounted for seven per cent of all votes cast, while the over-65s cast 25 per cent. That imbalance shrank this year, with the youngest members of the electorate casting ten per cent of all votes and the oldest 23 per cent.

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"On party support, we saw the biggest age gap between Labour and Conservatives since we started compiling comprehensive statistics on how people voted in the 1970s," Bobby Duffy, Ipsos Mori's managing director, told the New Statesman.

Kenny Imafidon, director of youth charity Bite the Ballot, said he was not surprised by the increased youth vote.

"Despite what some commentators will tell you, young people have always been political," he told BuzzFeed News.

The effect this demographic reshaping has on the political landscape could be profound, says the Financial Times.

"For decades a vicious cycle has been in motion: young people do not turn out to vote in large numbers, so politicians do not prioritise their needs when crafting their manifestos - so youth disillusionment with politics grows," it adds.

However, continues the paper, research suggests that after a person has voted once, they are "much more likely to vote in subsequent elections than those who have had an opportunity to vote and opted not to".

A touch of class

"The 2017 general election's denting of long-held political assumptions is sharpest on the issue of social class," says The Guardian.

While the Tories maintained a six-point lead among the more affluent ABC1 voters, Labour increased its share of the vote among the same group by 12 points compared with the last general election, its best score since 1979.

Among poorer C2DE voters, Labour maintained a four-point lead - but the Conservative share increased 12 points.

"The Conservatives fared best this year in the most working-class areas of the country, due in large part to their capture of the majority of 2015 UK Independence Party voters," says the FT.

Polling expert John Curtice told The Sun that Corbyn was boosted by a swing from professional and managerial level voters, far from the party's historical backers.

Labour had seen a "tsunami of support" from young, middle-class, pro-Remain voices, he added, crediting this to a combination of policies on student debt, housing and a more measured tone on Brexit.

"This is an election at which social class becomes less important as a base of Conservative and Labour support than we have seen in the whole of the post-war period," he said.

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