They show that Labour had energised young people to vote for the party – but only those who were already interested in politics. Too many others in that age group stayed away from the polls.
The huge number of young people who rallied behind Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour leadership campaign, and joined the party either during it or after his victory, suggests many did not feel they could support Labour under Ed Miliband, while the party’s current leadership is a different matter.
The older generation is more problematic. Senior citizens habitually vote Conservative, despite the fact that Labour has been responsible for every improvement in their standard of living since the late 1970s. Increased pension payments and pensioner benefits were all Labour innovations.
Since their return to office in 2010, the Conservatives have spent years chipping away at payments to pensioners, in an attempt to do harm without appearing to do so. Labour campaigners could capitalise on this by demonstrating it on the doorstep.
A systematic bias in the way people were selected to take part in opinion polls before the general election is emerging as the most likely reason why the industry failed to predict an overall majority for David Cameron in May’s general election.
Analysis undertaken by polling companies, including YouGov and ICM, of what went wrong in May has found that that a relative over-representation of politically engaged young voters produced a forecast that flattered Ed Miliband. Conversely, the over-70s – who broke heavily for the Tories – were under-represented in YouGov’s internet panels.
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