Voter Turnout Declining – Especially Among Young Voters

Partyforumseasia: International IDEA in Stockholm has published a survey on changes in voter turnout in December 2016. This is an issue of great importance to all political parties which have to compete against other parties even if the playing field is not even. “Bringing the votes out” is the internal battle cry in most election campaigns. Without mobilizing your own supporters and sympathizers it is difficult to win a democratic election or survive as a party.
Many political parties try to establish a vote bank of citizens who support them as regularly as possible. But voter decisions are predominantly less rational than emotional and decisions often change before and in the polling stations.
In the European context, ideologically based parties have been on the decline for decades already. Communists, Social Democrats, and Christian Democrats are struggling everywhere, while new movements and protest parties, like the Greens or the new Nationalists are thriving. Leadership is still a most important factor for electoral success, but some developments in voter turnout surveys reported by IDEA should be taken seriously. One rather striking is the low turnout of young voters:

voters-by-age

Despite debates in many countries to lower the voting age to 16 years, the first generations of “digital natives” seem to be less attracted by party politics and elections, maybe because their reading habits are not focusing that much on mainstream media and their reporting on politics any more. According to other surveys, a growing number of people find more of their information demand on social media rather than on newspapers and TV. If it is an overall trend it would give more voting power to the older generations and consequently nudge ruling parties and governments into showering the pensioners with promises and benefits.

The highly recommendable IDEA brochure is available online free of charge at the following Link:

 

 

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