Roundtable: Will the Youthquake Last?

Room: 
Assembly Room
Time Slot: 
Monday 26th March 16:15 - 17:45
Panel Chair: 
  • Dr Emily Rainsford (Newcastle University)
Panel Members: 
  • Dr Stuart Fox (Cardiff University)
  • Professor John Curtice (University of Strathclyde)
  • Mr Joe Greenwood (YouGov)
  • Dr Sarah Pickard (Universite Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris 3)
  • Dr James Sloam (Royal Holloway, University of London)

This roundtable discussion is co-organised by both the Elections, Public Opinion and Parties and Young People’s Politics specialist groups of the PSA, and considers one of the most pressing questions regarding young people’s engagement with politics following the 2017 general election: will the ‘youthquake’ last? The 2017 election saw young people turnout in greater numbers than in any general election since the 1990s, and also saw them vote in overwhelming numbers for the Labour Party, a fact that helped the party exceed expectations considerably and deprive the Conservative Party of a majority in the House of Commons. Given that this occurred, however, following consistently low youth turnout in the previous five general elections, it is far from clear that it will last. Was the ‘youthquake’ of 2017 a one-off, with young people likely to return to being consistently under-represented at the polls in the future; or did it mark the beginning of a lasting change in youth political engagement, with future cohorts of young voters likely to continue to vote in high numbers? Was the overwhelming support of the young for the Labour Party similarly a one-time occurrence, or does it mark the emergence of a lasting tendency amongst the young to support a party promoting the left-wing ideology of Jeremy Corbyn?