It was the story behind the shock result of the 2017 election: the underestimation of people who do not normally vote, but who turned out in force and denied Theresa May her majority. Overall, official estimates recorded a marginal increase in turnout from 66.1 per cent in 2015 to 68.7 per cent, but among young people there was a surge that helped deliver a hung parliament: turnout increased from 44 per cent in 2015 to as much as 64 per cent.
For more than a decade, voter apathy has been the undercurrent in all election campaigns. But now a study by Oxford and Manchester universities claims that voter apathy is not as pervasive in the UK – and other countries including the US and Sweden – as was thought.
Turnout in the UK in every election since 1979 is on average 9 percentage points higher than official estimates, the study says. This would put turnout in 2017 in the high 70s, and the notoriously...
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