The power of youth: Young voters crucial to Federal election victories, finds study

The latent power of young voters to shape Federal election outcomes has been revealed in a new study released today by the Whitlam Institute within the University of Western Sydney. 

Younger voters aged 18 to 25 may have largely determined the outcome of the past four Federal elections (2001, 2004, 2007 and 2010) and may now be the most electorally influential demographic according to the study which used data supplied by Newspoll(opens in a new window). 

Co-author of the report and Director of the Whitlam Institute, Eric Sidoti says disenchanted as they may be, young people may not themselves realise just how significant their votes have been. 

“Young voters represent approximately 30 per cent of the electorate. This substantial proportion of young voters means that a major shift in the youth vote, which we found is not uncommon, will be sufficient to change an election outcome notwithstanding the lower level of voter registration,” says Mr Sidoti. 

“The implication may be lost on younger voters themselves but it is apparent that electoral participation still matters and that young people’s participation in elections does have an impact.” 

The report found the collapse of the youth vote for Labor between the 2007 and 2010 elections saw a drop of well over 15 points among 18-34 year olds and their intentions to switch to the Greens (by roughly the same number) goes a long way to explaining the hung parliament. 

“The relative voter stability of older age cohorts makes the fluid nature of the youth vote more electorally significant,” says Mr Sidoti. 

This current report updates the original with an analysis of Federal voting intention data for the period 2010 to 2013.

Full report available to download:

Youth Federal election voting intentions update: A statistical and graphical analysis of Newspoll Quarterly Data Election Poll 2010 to March 2013


26 August 2013 

By submitting a comment you acknowledge you agree with the Terms and Conditions.