Scotland politics

Young voters 'feel alienated from political system'

Young voters
Image caption A majority of young voters said they wanted technology to be used to "give more power to citizens"

Young people in Scotland are half as likely as over-65s to feel they can vote for someone who "understands their life", a new poll suggests.

People in the 16-24 age bracket were most likely to discuss politics, but felt alienated from the political system.

The poll for the Electoral Reform Society Scotland found only 26% feel they have the option to vote for someone who understands them.

That compared to half of the over-65s.

The poll by BMG Research surveyed 1,035 Scottish residents aged 16 and over between 5 and 11 May.

The younger age group was most likely of all ages to say they talk about how to make their community a better place to live.

The were also most likely to discuss politics with friends and family at 50% and 64% respectively, compared to 33% and 43% for over-65s.

A majority of 16 to 24-year-olds (65%) said they wanted technology to be used to "give more power to citizens" compared with 40% of over-65s.

'Far from apathetic'

Electoral Reform Society Scotland spokesman Jonathon Shafi said action had to be taken to tackle the "dangerous generation gap".

He 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.

"Alongside other reforms to improve our democracy, we have the chance to close this dangerous generation gap before it becomes unbridgeable."