YOUNG VOICES

Young Voter Turnout The Reason Why Pollsters Can't Agree On Tory Election Lead, Says Newsnight Reporter

And it shows how powerful the young vote could be.

01/06/2017 12:10 BST | Updated 01/06/2017 14:14 BST

Young people are the reason why pollsters are predicting such vastly different election leads for the Conservative Party, a Newsnight journalist has claimed. 

Yesterday, a YouGov poll predicted that Labour had narrowed the Tory lead to just three points.  

However, just 24 hours before, ICM pollsters claimed that Theresa May had a much more significant 12% lead. 

The huge disparity led some to accuse pollsters of “rogue” surveys. 

But speaking on Newsnight last night, policy editor Chris Cook said the “very big” difference in numbers was down to the “turnout weighting” of young people.  

“When pollsters put together their polls, they not only have to make sure that the whole thing represents Britain as a whole,” he said.

Phil Noble/ Reuters Anthony Devlin/GettyImages
Young voters are the reason why polls about Theresa May's lead are so different, said Chris Cook 

“They have to work out whose actually going to turn out and vote. And the assumptions and measures they have used there are radically different.”

Cook continued: “So, for example, Survation, the ones who have a six percentage point Tory lead - so good for Labour - they are assuming that more than 80% of under 24s go to vote. 

“ICM, who have a 12 percentage point lead for the Tories - so bad for Labour - think there is only going to be around a 40% turnout among under 24s.” 

Newsnight presenter Evan Davies then asked: “And given that so many young people are Corbyn supporters, are Labour supporters, whether they turn out is basically what drives it?” 

“Thats a big part of what’s going on,” Cook confirmed. 

A survey of 1,000 university undergraduates found that 55% plan to vote for the Labour Party on June 8, with more than a million under 25s having registered to vote in the election. 

But, according to British Election Survey data, just 44% of of 18-24 year olds voted in the 2015 General Election - a fall from the 2010 figure of 51.8%.  

A Tory candidate, who has served as an MP for more than a decade, told HuffPost UK: “Under-30s love Corbyn, but they don’t care enough to get off their lazy arses and vote for him!”