A recent study found that young people in the United Kingdom are much less likely to vote for right-wing parties compared to their peers in other Western countries. This trend, attributed to significant economic hardships facing the younger generation, stands in stark contrast to voting patterns seen in countries such as the United States, France, Germany and Spain.
The study, published by the Financial Times, highlights the huge difference in voting preferences between young Britons and their peers abroad. In the 2020 US presidential election, roughly 40% of voters in their 20s voted for Donald Trump, a trend expected to continue in the upcoming election.
In France, Germany and Spain, support for conservative parties among young voters hovers around 30%. However, in the UK, this number has fallen to an all-time low, with only 10% of individuals under the age of 40 planning to vote for the ruling Conservative Party.
Experts point to a significant decline in social mobility in the UK as the primary driver of this change. Young Britons, they argue, have been disproportionately affected by this phenomenon compared to their counterparts in other Western countries.
This fundamentally changed their political views. Traditionally, young Britons have expected easier access to home ownership, aligning their political interests with lower-tax parties. However, research by the University of Oxford suggests that young people in the UK have lost faith in the social mobility enjoyed by their parents' generation.
A separate Focaldata study for the Financial Times further underscores this point, revealing an almost polar opposite between the cultural and economic beliefs of young Britons and Conservative voters. Before the 2016 EU referendum, the proportion of 18-34-year-olds in the UK who expressed strong disapproval of the Conservative Party remained stable at around 20%.
However, this number has doubled in the years since the referendum. With young voters increasingly disenfranchised by right-wing politics, the traditional base of support for conservative parties is eroding. This could lead to a shift in political power dynamics, potentially paving the way for parties that better represent the concerns and aspirations of younger generations.