YOUNG VOICES

Forget Party Politics, It's Issues Like This Motivating London's Young Voters

The new 'political Tinder' app matches people with candidates.

26/04/2016 14:51

Young Londoners support censoring images of unhealthily thin models on the capital's transport network, an innovative poll of opinion ahead of the upcoming Mayoral race has found.

Thousands of 18 to 24-year-olds have been using a new app from democracy campaigners Bite The Ballot which aims to educate young voters ahead of May 5.

Catherine Wylie/PA Archive
A Protein World advert displaying the slogan 'Are you beach body ready?' caused controversy last year. Sadiq Khan has said he wants to ban adverts which lower young people's self esteem

So far data from the app reveals a gender divide between the opinions of men and women on several hot topics, including unhealthy body image promoted through adverts.

While 84% of women said they wanted images of unhealthily thin models to be banned from public transport, 62% of men said the same.

HuffPost UK
Source: Bite The Ballot, verto.london

And there was also a big difference between ethnicities.

The data shows a majority of Asian men, 54%, said they would not like to see restrictions on models in advertisements.

The policy of banning images of skinny models on public transport was mooted by Labour's Sadiq Khan in January. "Self-esteem, how you view yourself, role models. Advertisers should know better," he said.

Of nine topics included in Verto, young Londoners’ top three priorities were education (64%), housing (44%) and jobs (38%).

HuffPost UK
Source: Bite The Ballot, verto.london

Broken down between genders, young women listed health and wellbeing among their priorities, whereas men listed the economy.

Both genders were generally agreed on education and housing as being a priority.

The campaigns of all candidates include flagship solutions to London's housing crisis, with the Conservative's Zac Goldsmith telling The Huffington Post UK he wants to return housebuilding to 1930s levels.

Yui Mok/PA Archive
Zac Goldsmith, left, and Sadiq Khan, right, are the frontrunners in the London mayoral election

With London's mayoral race embroiled in a racism storm based in part on Khan's alleged links with Islamic extremists, 72% of those aged 16-24 say they want a Mayor who’ll support deporting hate preachers and those who promote terrorism.

And on the topic of crime, nine-in-ten agree hospitals should record and share knife-wound statistics with the Metropolitan Police.

Bite The Ballot's Verto.London app was created in partnership with the University of Warwick and aims to provide young Londoners with a neutral resource before the election.

The data was drawn before the app launched more widely this week, from a sample size of 1,655 young Londoners.

Bite The Ballot/Verto
Bite the Ballot's Verto app has been called the "Tinder for politics"

The policies of seven main candidates for Mayor have been included in the app, including frontrunners Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan.

Nicknamed the new "Tinder for politics" Verto allows users to swipe right in agreement with statements drawn from candidates' manifestos and public statements.

It uses these responses to match a user with a candidate, with some unexpected results.

"It really took me by surprise," 22-year-old Onyeka told HuffPost UK. "It's going to make me look at other candidates."

The app is even helping those not yet able to cast their ballots.

"I got Green and Liberal Democrat, I'd have expected Green and Labour," Lola May, 17, said. "I didn't know candidates set their own policies."

In a blog on HuffPost UK, Bite The Ballot's Michael Sani and Kenny Imafidon, wrote: "London's Mayor is responsible for creating policies on everything from crime, to arts and culture - as well as providing young people in London with more opportunities and helping local businesses to thrive.

"But clear and accessible information on where the candidates stand on Mayoral issues is proving difficult to come by."

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