Newly Enfranchised Voters: Political Attitudes of Under 18-Year Olds in the Context of the Referendum on Scotland’s Constitutional Future
This paper summarises results from the only representative and comprehensive survey of Scots under the age of 18 who will be enfranchised to vote in the referendum in September 2014 following the lowering of the voting age to 16. Many claims have been made about young people and their alleged disengagement from politics. This paper challenges such assertions and suggests that political interest amongst young people is similar to that of adults, however there is an observed distance to existing institutionalised actors such as political parties. In addition, the paper explores how young people form their attitudes on the issue. In doing so it criticises those who claimed that young people would be easily biased to vote in a particular way by their parents or teachers as no such negative effects can be observed.