Is Labour more vulnerable on voter registration?

Is Labour more vulnerable on voter registration?

ICM Mar 20 data Voted in 2005 Aged 18 – 24
2010 CON voters 89.9% 3.7%
2010 LAB voters 81.6% 8.9%
2010 Lib Dem voters 88.9% 4.4%

Is this a problem with having greater appeal to the young?

The table shows two sets of figures from the latest ICM poll: the proportion who voted for one of the main parties in 2005 and the proportion of their overall support now coming from the 18-24 old age-group.

This is relevant because past voters are more likely to vote next time and, amongst the young, there is a problem with the unregistered.

A couple of weeks ago the Electoral Commission published a report showing that 56% of the 18 -24 group are unregistered and 31% of people with black or minority ethnic backgrounds are not on the register.

Surprisingly this is not a question that is asked by pollsters – so a part of the vote shares being reported cannot be translated into real votes on election day.

Part of the smaller past vote proportion for Labour is down to those who did not vote on principle following the Iraq war. But an even bigger element is because of the greater appeal that Brown’s party has to the younger age groups – and if so many are not on the register what does that say about current poll numbers?

Things could be so tight in this election that we have to look at every angle.

UPDATE: Mark Park makes a valid point on the thread about the 56% unregistered figure which was how it was reported in the media. The figure, he notes, came from a series of pilot investigations which the Electoral Commission’s report explicitly says “cannot be used to report on national rates”. But the broad point remains – younger voters are less likely to be on the register than the rest of the electorate and that pollsters ought to be checking this.

Mike Smithson

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