© Ellie Foreman-Peck

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  • AQA Component1, Section Elections and referendums: patterns of voting behaviour/changes over time

  • Edexcel Component 1, 4.1: Case studies of three key general elections: gender, age, ethnicity and region as factors in influencing voting behaviour, turnout and trends

Background: what you need to know

This article highlights age as a key factor in determining the probable outcome of the next general election. It argues that Conservative policies on issues such as Brexit and net zero — where Rishi Sunak has recently watered down government targets — are likely to alienate younger voters.

Moreover, as home ownership is now out of reach for many young people, the party can no longer offer the promise of a better standard of living to the rising generation. The electoral danger for the Conservatives is that their appeal becomes limited to older voters.

Click the link below to read the article and then answer the questions:

Sunak’s Conservatives are betting against the future

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 1

  • ‘Age, not class or region, is the most important factor that determines voting behaviour in the UK.’ Analyse and evaluate this statement. [25 marks]

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 1

  • Evaluate the view that social factors, such as age, are the most important determinant of voting behaviour.

    You must consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way. [30 marks]

    TIP: It is worth looking at voting statistics for the main UK political parties by age, gender, social class etc at two or three recent general elections, to see if you can establish patterns of electoral behaviour. If you can quote some real-world figures, this will strengthen your answer. Note also — a factor not mentioned in the article — that electoral turnout is significantly higher among older voters than it is for younger people. This may work to the Conservatives’ advantage.

Graham Goodlad, Portsmouth High School

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