Older voters don’t contain the selfish gene when it comes to politics

Tuesday 14 April 2015

Much has been made of how the Political parties are said to be bending to the wishes of the older generations simply because they are significantly more likely to vote. But new research from Saga has blown away the myth of the selfish voter, with only one in ten over 50s stating that the issues that affect them were the most important to how they vote.

Older voters don’t contain the selfish gene when it comes to politics

Saga research shows that the older you are the more likely you are to vote – with 89% of people aged 65+ saying they were very likely to cast their vote in the General Election of  7th May – which falls to just 52% of those aged 18-24.

The effect of the recent Scottish referendum appears to have supercharged interest in politics as 83% of Scots say they were very likely to vote – which contrasts with their Celtic cousins in Wales for whom only 63% said they were very likely to vote. Propensity to vote also varies by socio-economic group with 71% of those categorised as DE saying they are very likely to vote compared with 81% of those classed as AB.

Perhaps more striking is the fact that just 10% of the over 65s said that issues that directly affected them were the most important factor in how they cast their vote, compared to 30% of those aged 18-24. 

In addition, just 29% of those aged 18-24 said that issues that affected the country as a whole was the most important consideration, compared with 60% of those aged 65 and over.

Paul Green, Saga’s director of communications commented:

“Older people take their responsibility to vote seriously with 9 in 10 saying they are very likely to vote in the General Election.  The good news is that their vote will largely be on who they believe is best placed to run the country for all generations. Far from being selfish the grey vote is more community spirited and less self-centred than the younger voters when it comes to considering how to cast their ballot – which is good for democracy and for society.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

 

 Research highlights:

Those saying they are very likely to vote in the General Election

By age

18-24     52%

25-34     64%

35-44     73%

45-54     79%

55-64     88%

65+         89%

Under 50               67%

Over 50                 86%

By socio-economic group

AB           81%

C1           74 %

C2           76%

DE           71%

By Region

Scotland                 83%

East Midlands        83%

North West           80%

West Midlands     77%

South West           76%

North East              76%

London                 75%

Eastern                   74%

Wales                     63%

 

Issues that directly affect me are most important

By age

18-24     30%

25-34     30%

35-44     27%

45-54     26%

55-64     20%

65+         10%

Under 50               28%

Over 50                                 17%

 

Issues that affect the country as a whole are most important

18-24     29%

25-34     27%

35-44     33%

45-54     48%

55-64     51%

65+         60%

Under 50               33%

Over 50                                 55%

 

Populus polled a cross representative section of 2,059 adults aged 18 and over from 20-22 February 2015.

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