Young Scots agree technology should be used to ‘give more power to citizens’

houses of parliament

A new poll for the Electoral Reform Society Scotland has revealed generational differences in how people feel about voting ahead of the General Election, including the use of technology in political processes.

The poll by BMG Research finds that while young people are highly engaged in political discussion and are interested in positively engaging ideas to bring power closer to them, they feel fundamentally alienated from the political system.

“We have a generation who understand the impact of politics on their lives, but feel they need better tools to engage with it.”

It shows that only 26% of 16-24 year olds feel they have the option to vote for someone who ‘understands their life’ compared to half of the over 65s.

At the same time, the research showed that young people react positively to ideas that they feel improve the political system. For example, 65% of 16 – 24 year olds agree that technology should be used to ‘give more power to citizens’. But less than half – only 40% – of over 65s feel the same way.

Jonathon Shafi, spokesperson and Campaigns Organiser for Electoral Reform Society Scotland, said:

“This polling tells us that young people are far from apathetic. It is striking that they appear to discuss national politics and making improvements to their community or town more than their older counterparts.

“But it is also telling that they feel that politicians don’t understand their lives. We know that older people tend to vote more, but we also see that young people want to embrace technology to give citizens more power.”

“What’s important about this is that young people appear to want to be able to connect their general political awareness and interest with power and decision making.”

“We have a generation who understand the impact of politics on their lives, but feel they need better tools to engage with it. A more deliberative approach to our democracy would aid this – involving citizens at every level in decision-making would go a long way to bringing people of all ages closer to politics.”