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There’s a common assumption or “wisdom” in politics that young people are more likely to vote more conservatively as they age, supposedly backed up by a strong Tory base of older people – but new analysis has suggested millennials don’t follow the unwritten rule.
The research by the Financial Times found that while the Conservative and Republican vote shares all ticked upwards as Generation Xers, boomers and the silent generation aged, the vote share among millennials has so far dipped downwards over time.
Also known as Gen Y, millennials are those born between 1981 and 1996. The silent generation, meanwhile, are individuals born between 1928 to 1945, and boomers are people born between 1946 and 1964.
In a Twitter thread expanding upon the data, FT columnist John Burn-Murdoch wrote: “When you consider that millennials came of age in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, and entered their thirties with homes less affordable than ever, it starts to feel quite plausible that this context may have shaped this generation differently to its predecessors."
He continued: “Culture war issues generally map very neatly onto education, so it should hardly be surprising that they go down badly with the most well-educated generation in history. The problem is, it may now prove difficult to undo that damage.”
\u201cNEW: conservatives have a Millennials problem.\n\nIn both UK & US, it\u2019s not just that Millennials aren\u2019t voting conservative because they\u2019re young.\n\nEvery previous generation grew more conservative with age, but Millennials are not playing ball.\n\nMy column: https://t.co/MyIKv5sZ4o\u201d
— John Burn-Murdoch (@John Burn-Murdoch)
Burn-Murdoch concluded by recommending conservatives “sort out the housing affordability crisis”, reform childcare systems and “give some serious consideration to [the] continued use of culture war politics”.
Such is politics and Twitter, that a fair amount of users had some thoughts to share on the data and the findings.
“We ain’t playing ball because we never had a ball to play with,” commented one individual.
Astrophysicist Brooke Simmons replied: “I don’t understand why this thread doesn’t mention health care. E.g. ask a millennial in the UK if they believe which party they back makes a difference to whether the NHS will still exist in 20 years’ time.”
Chris Curtis, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Milton Keynes and researcher at the pollster Opinium, added: “It’s not just home ownership, it’s much wider economic insecurity.”