Tremors But No Youthquake: Measuring Changes in the Age and Turnout Gradients at the 2015 and 2017 British General Elections

54 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2018 Last revised: 10 Feb 2020

See all articles by Christopher Prosser

Christopher Prosser

University of Manchester

Edward A. Fieldhouse

University of Manchester

Jane Green

University of Manchester

Jonathan Mellon

University of Manchester

Geoffrey Evans

University of Oxford - Nuffield College of Medicine

Date Written: January 28, 2018

Abstract

In the aftermath of the 2017 UK General Election, some claimed that Labour performed unexpectedly well because of a surge in youth turnout. Polling estimates for the size of this ‘youthquake’ ranged from 12 to 21 points amongst 18–24 year olds. Using conventional and Bayesian statistical methods, we analyse British Election Study and British Social Attitudes random probability surveys and find no evidence of a shift in the relationship between age and turnout of this scale. Using the pooled BES and BSA reported turnout data with an informative prior that there was a modest increase in 18–24 turnout (N{6, 3}), our 95% credible interval for that change is between 1.2 and 6.3 points. Even with a strong youthquake prior (N{15.5, 3.5}), this data suggest that there is only a 4% probability that the change in turnout amongst 18–24 years olds was 12 points or higher.

Keywords: Turnout, Survey weighting, Ecological Fallacy, British politics

Suggested Citation

Prosser, Christopher and Fieldhouse, Edward A. and Green, Jane and Mellon, Jonathan and Evans, Geoffrey, Tremors But No Youthquake: Measuring Changes in the Age and Turnout Gradients at the 2015 and 2017 British General Elections (January 28, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3111839 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3111839

Christopher Prosser (Contact Author)

University of Manchester ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

Edward A. Fieldhouse

University of Manchester ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

Jane Green

University of Manchester ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

Jonathan Mellon

University of Manchester ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

Geoffrey Evans

University of Oxford - Nuffield College of Medicine ( email )

New Road
Oxford, OX1 1NF
United Kingdom

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