Matt Henn & Nick Foard - Disconnected Youth?

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Workshop on the Political Participation of Young People 21-22 June, 2013.
Gençlerin Siyasi Katılımı 21 – 22 Haziran 2013

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Matt Henn & Nick Foard - Disconnected Youth?

  1. 1. DISCONNECTED YOUTH? THE IMPACT OF SOCIOECONOMIC AND EDUCATIONAL FACTORS ON YOUTH POLITICAL ENGAGEMENT IN BRITAIN? Network Youth and Participation Project, ‘Political Participation of Young People’ Workshop 21st and 22nd June 2013, Istanbul Bilgi University Matt Henn & Nick Foard Nottingham Trent University matt.henn@ntu.ac.uk nick.foard@ntu.ac.uk 27/09/2013 Economic and Social Research Council award RES-000-22-4450
  2. 2. UK Electoral turnout trends since 1945 90 85 80 75 70 71,4 65 60 55 50 27/09/2013 2
  3. 3. UK Electoral turnout trends since 1945 90 85 80 75 70 71,4 65 60 59,4 55 50 27/09/2013 3
  4. 4. UK Electoral turnout trends since 1945 90 85 80 75 70 71,4 65 60 59,4 55 50 27/09/2013 4
  5. 5. Young people’s electoral turnout trends 1987-2010 70 68 66 65 61 60 55 50 45 44 40 39 35 37 30 1987 27/09/2013 1992 1997 2001 2005 2010 5
  6. 6. General Election 2010: a turning point in youth voting? 1. University tuition fees at the top of the campaigning agenda 2. Election – opportunity to instigate change through voting 3. Televised leadership debates 27/09/2013 6
  7. 7. 27/09/2013 7
  8. 8. Project Aims 1. Examine young people’s orientation to the political process 2. Determine the extent to which there is a diversity of political outlooks, shaped by key variables (such as gender, ethnicity, social class and educational career) 27/09/2013 8
  9. 9. Data collection methods • National study of 1,025 young people (18 year olds) using an online survey (fieldwork 20th April to 4th May 2011) • Fourteen online focus groups with 86 young people who opted not to vote at the 2010 General Election 27/09/2013 9
  10. 10. Dependent variables • Political interest • Confidence in knowledge and understanding of the democratic process • Political power and influence • Attitudes to i) electoral process and ii) value of elections • Perception of effectiveness of political parties and professional politicians • Trust in political parties and professional politicians 27/09/2013 10
  11. 11. Table 1: Political Engagement (%) Some or more None at all How much interest do you generally have in politics? 63 12 How interested were you in the general election that was held on May 6th last year? 64 14 27/09/2013 14
  12. 12. In your opinion, what is the single most important issue to you at the moment? 18% Higher Education tuition fees 12% Job prospects for young people 11% Economy / recession 8% Student fees / debt 5% Cuts in education funding 4% Unemployment / Factory Closures 4% Finance / money Race relations / immigration 4% The way the country is governed 3% Government spending cuts 3% Taxation 2% Health care 2% Defence / foreign affairs / terrorism 2% 15
  13. 13. Table 2: Influences on political interest amongst young people B Interest Beta Sig. Constant Male .213 .106 .001 BME .059 .019 .535 Having qualifications .121 .058 .061 In full-time education .523 .242 .000 Managerial / professional 27/09/2013 -.671 .000 .320 .158 .000 16
  14. 14. 27/09/2013 17
  15. 15. Table 3: Confidence in personal knowledge and understanding of politics B Internal efficacy Beta Sig. Constant Male .407 .202 .000 BME -.110 -.035 .275 Having qualifications .142 .067 .036 In full-time education .393 .181 .000 Managerial / professional 27/09/2013 -.631 .000 .184 .091 .005 18
  16. 16. 27/09/2013 19
  17. 17. Table 4: Confidence in the political system B External Efficacy Beta Sig. Constant Male .011 .005 .880 BME -.282 -.092 .010 Having qualifications .081 .039 .278 In full-time education .190 .088 .017 Managerial / professional 27/09/2013 -.210 .026 .119 .059 .103 20
  18. 18. 27/09/2013 21
  19. 19. Faith in the electoral process • Elections help to keep politicians accountable for the promises they make (agree 43% : 31%) • Elections give voters an opportunity to tell politicians what they think is really important (agree 53% : 18%) • Having regular elections forces politicians to listen carefully to public opinion (agree 50% : 20%) 27/09/2013 22
  20. 20. Table 5: Faith in the electoral process B Elections Beta Sig. Constant Male .112 .056 .087 BME .205 .067 .042 Having qualifications .157 .075 .022 In full-time education .248 .116 .001 Managerial / professional 27/09/2013 -.374 .000 .065 .032 .323 23
  21. 21. 27/09/2013 24
  22. 22. Table 6: Perceptions of the “value” of elections B Value of elections Beta Sig. Constant Male .065 .032 .322 BME -.162 -.052 .107 Having qualifications .091 .044 .179 In full-time education .292 .136 .000 Managerial / professional 27/09/2013 -.378 .000 .258 .129 .000 25
  23. 23. 27/09/2013 26
  24. 24. Perception of the effectiveness of political parties and politicians • Political parties are effective organisations for changing the lives of people for the better (agree 21% : 31%) • My member of parliament tries hard to look after the interests of people in my constituency (agree 24% : 17%) • Parties generally do a good job in finding suitable people to run for parliament (agree 22% : 29%) • Political parties do a good job of listening to young people's concerns, and then responding to them positively (agree 12% : 51%) 27/09/2013 30
  25. 25. Table 7: Effectiveness of political parties and politicians B Effectiveness of parties Beta Sig. Constant Male -.037 -.018 .622 BME .022 .007 .853 Having qualifications .225 .107 .004 In full-time education .164 .076 .045 Managerial / professional 27/09/2013 -.238 .012 .001 .001 .987 31
  26. 26. 27/09/2013 34
  27. 27. Table 8: Trust in political parties and politicians (%) Agree Disagree There is often a big difference between what a party promises it will do and what it actually does when it wins an election 75 3 In general, political parties are more interested in winning elections that in governing afterwards 65 9 The main political parties in Britain don't offer voters real choices in elections because their policies are pretty much all the same 40 18 Political parties do more to divide the country than unite it 47 12 In elections, political parties don't tell people about the really important problems facing the country 48 16 Governments don't really care what young people like me think 54 14 Those elected to parliament soon lose touch with people 62 6 Parties are only interested in people's votes, not in their opinions 65 8 27/09/2013 35
  28. 28. Table 9: Trust in political parties and politicians B Trust in parties Beta Sig. Constant Male .110 .055 .139 BME -.276 -.087 .018 Having qualifications .117 .056 .132 In full-time education -.014 -.007 .860 Managerial / professional 27/09/2013 -.140 .137 .105 .052 .162 36
  29. 29. Table 10: The impact of socio-economic factors on young people’s political (dis)engagement in Britain Education X X SEC X X X X X X Effectiveness of parties X Qualifications 27/09/2013 X Value of elections X Ethnicity Trust in parties X Faith in electoral process Confidence in knowledge/ understanding of politics X Political power(lessness) Interest in politics Gender X X X X 38
  30. 30. Conclusion • Contrary to the common stereotype of a politically apathetic generation, young people are interested in politics, and have faith in the democratic process. • The political system and the established parties and politicians that dominate it, are together failing to provide the stimuli necessary to encourage young people to engage with formal politics… • Their recent experience of their first general election in 2010 has left them feeling somewhat disheartened. • Our study has revealed a considerable aversion to formal, professional politics and to the political classes who are charged with conducting politics on their behalf. • But things are more complex – there is no uniform pattern… • And all we can say with certainty is that there is no quick fix when it comes to reversing the decline in youth political participation 27/09/2013 40
  31. 31. Does it matter if young people don’t vote? 27/09/2013 41

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