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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The slow death of political parties

New analysis by Ipsos MORI suggests that by 2024 under a quarter of the voting public will feel connected to one particular political party, compared with over half the population in the 1990s. 

Ipsos MORI used nearly 30 years of data from the British Social Attitudes survey to examine how connection to political parties varies between different generations, and then to project forward a further ten years. 

They say they can do this with some certainty because there are large and consistent differences in connection to political parties between generations – for example, only 19% of Generation Y say they are supporters of one political party, compared with 56% of the pre-1945 generation.


The massive gap between generations on political engagement is also seen in certainty to vote, based on our new analysis of the Hansard Society’s Audit of Political Engagement. 70% of pre-war generation say they would be certain to vote, but only 25% of Generation Y say the same.


Bobby Duffy, Managing Director of the Social Research Institute said: “We face a significant problem with party political engagement of young people in the UK – as our previous work has shown, we have the biggest gap between old and young of any major country in Europe. As we and others have outlined, this does not mean that the youngest generations are uncaring or inactive on the political issues they think are important – far from it. It is more that buying into one particular all-encompassing party manifesto is much less appealing or relevant for a generation that is used to a highly filtered, responsive and individually targeted world. This leaves the most important question of what to do – and there seem to be few convincing answers. The more concrete actions focus on getting younger cohorts to fit into the political system, through encouraging voter registration and turnout. It gets much trickier to think of practical ways the system can fit with these coming generations. But as our analysis shows, the need for new ideas is only going to grow.”