Young people will decide this year’s election – here’s why every vote matters

It's in your hands. Vote on June 8 and take a mate to the polls.

Forget the slogans, the spin, and the ins and outs of political squabbles. This election boils down to one thing: Turn up to vote and you can shape this country. Don’t bother, and it’ll be more of the same, and you’ll only have yourself to blame.

We already know that older voters (over-65s) don’t have any problem turning out to vote. But for decades, the youth turnout has been significantly lower. Following the result of last June’s EU referendum, many wondered how active, older voters could decide a policy that would shape younger generations’ futures. The way to combat this is simple – turn up to your local polling station, stick a cross in the ballot paper, job done.

It’s impossible not to follow the polls in the lead-up to an election. Some give the Tories a double figure lead. Others say they’re ahead by just 1%. Why do these differ so much? It all depends on predicted youth turnout. Companies such as ICM and Comres actually weight their polling figures with the expectation that young people won’t actually turn out on the day. Others, such as YouGov’s new model (not a poll, FYI), are basing polls on current voting intentions. Survation expects 82% of 18-24s to vote. Both approaches make sense – no polling company wants to be wrong, so ICM has every right to assume young voters might not turn out. In the past, that’s exactly what’s happened.

But these polls also paint their own very different picture. One has young voters turning out and putting Labour in power. The other expects 18-24s to stay at home, giving the Tories another five years of power. In layman’s terms, it’s all in your hands.

NME has been conducting its own nationally representative, pre-election research. Figures obtained by The Stream, surveying 1000+ respondents weekly, all aged between 18-34, suggests that only 7% of potential voters won’t actually vote. Amongst those surveyed, Jeremy Corbyn is the more popular leader, and Labour has a 29 point lead over the Conservatives. 87% believed Theresa May should have turned up to the BBC One leaders’ debate last week, and 74% thought less of her for the no-show.

A look at the latest figures in full:

Labour – 46% (+5)
Conservatives – 17% (+1)
Liberal Democrats – 7% (+1)
UKIP 4% (-2)
SNP 4% (+1)
Green Party 4% (+2)
Don’t know 10% (-3)
Won’t vote 7% (-3)

Never before has so much been at stake in an election, and rarely have the two main parties offered such different pitches for governing the country. NME’s ‘plus one’ campaign wants you to take a mate to the polls. We know you’re a great person and you’ve already registered. But it’s time to make sure your mates are up to speed. This Thursday morning, hoist them away from their bowl of cereal and towards the polling station.

Not voting would achieve nothing. Turning out could actually make a difference, now more than ever. The power is in your hands. It’s really that simple.