A new survey in the UK has indicated that more than twice as many British voters under the age of 45 consider Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party to be “on their side” than those who think the same about Theresa May’s Conservative Party , raising major concerns amidst the Tories.
The opinion poll, conducted by Opinium for the London-based public policy think tank Social Market Foundation (SMF), further shows that not only young adult voters in their teens and early 20s, but also those in their 30s through young middle ages believe that the Tories no longer speak for them, The Guardian reported Saturday.
The release of the survey’s findings coincided with the commencement of the Tory conference in Manchester, where senior Conservative ministers and lawmakers call for a fundamental rethink of the party’s offering to younger sectors of the electorate following the catastrophic outcome for the Tories in the snap general election called by the prime minister in June.
The poll found that among voters aged 18 to 24, only 15 percent now say that the Tory party represents “people like me,” while a mere 20 percent of those aged 25-34 as well as just 21 percent of voters between 35 and 44 think likewise.
Among the three age groups, the same percentage (76) further regarded the Tories to be more on the side of “richer people” than the less wealthy.
Moreover, the survey shows that only 19 percent of people aged 18 to 34 think the Tories are on their side compared with 53 percent, who believe Corbyn and the Labour Party is.
Among all voters under 45, the poll found, the same proportion (19 percent) think the Tories are on their side against 50 percent who say Labour is. Even among voters aged over 45 but below 65, Labour stayed ahead of the Tories.
“It is only among voters over 65 that the Tories are seen as more in tune with their needs than Labour,” the report said citing the poll, adding that nearly 39 percent in this group “say the Tories are on their side, compared with 30 percent who say Labour is.”
According to the survey, in separate policy areas the Conservative Party is also regarded as deeply out of touch by younger voters. Only nine percent of 25- to 34-year-olds taking part in the poll said the Tories are on the side of renters, while 32 percent stated that they speak mostly for homeowners.
Additionally, just 25 percent of the 35-44 age group would consider voting for the Conservative Party, compared to 26 percent for those aged 25-34 and 22 percent for those aged 18-24. Among those aged 65-74 the figure stood at 51 percent.
Explaining the poll’s findings, SMF’s director James Kirkup said, “The Conservatives’ problem is that you can’t expect people to support an economic settlement in which they have literally no stake. But years of stagnant wages and a dysfunctional housing market mean that many people are reaching their late 30s and 40s having worked hard for years, but are still unable to amass significant savings and or make a decent contribution to a pension, or buy a home.”
He further emphasized, “To many who don’t have property or savings, the Tories look dangerously like a party that wants to defend the interests of the people who already do own things and isn’t interested in helping more people to own things.”
This is while a government minister in the UK’s Ministry of Justice, Dr. Phillip Lee, conceded in an article published by The Guardian that the Tory party is now a “huge turn-off” for most people under the age of 44. He further wrote the party has a serious “trust problem”, noting that “more and more people see us as the party of the rich. And most people do not believe that Conservatives are on their side. This is a wake-up call.”
David Cameron’s former pollster Andrew Cooper also observed that the poll findings raised questions about the party’s ability to survive, insisting that the Conservative’s younger voter problem “is an existential threat… much too deep to be solved by a few eye-catching policies.”