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New Youth Democracy Index shows fewer than one in five young people trust politicians

  • My Life My Say (MLMS) has released new data in conjunction with Opinium.

  • The Youth Democracy Index statistics detail the levels of trust in the political system among 18-24 year olds, ahead of National Voter Registration Day (NVRD) on April 14th.

  • MLMS highlights that the statistics show a depth of feeling, not apathy. The organisation will launch a campaign to boost youth registration on NVRD.

07 April 2022: My Life My Say (MLMS) has today released new statistics in partnership with polling agency Opinium.

The data gathered the opinions of 18-24 year olds on three key sections: 1. Their preferred political system, 2. Their views on the state of British democracy, and 3. Their perspective on whose interests they think the government serves.

With regards to the first section, two-in-five (43%) think that socialism is a good model for society, with just under one-in-three (32%) thinking the same about capitalism.

On trust, fewer than one-in-five (19%) trust politicians. Nearly one-in-two (47%) distrust the Tories, while almost one-in-four (23%) distrust the Labour Party.

Most young people think British society is corrupt, secretive, and greedy.

Similarly, young people are more likely to think the government considers the needs of the rich and powerful than other groups in society. Almost half of respondents feel the people that run Britain have failed to represent people like them.

In terms of voting, over one-in-three (35%) think their vote doesn’t matter in an election.

Key findings:

  • Fewer than one-in-five (19%) trust politicians, 60% say they trust teachers, and 56% say they trust academia/universities

  • 49% think the UK government considers the wants and needs of business leaders when making decisions most or all of the time. 58% say the same about the super-wealthy. 32% think the same about landlords and newspaper owners

  • 45% said they have done a bad job of representing them.

  • 75% said it is secretive. 70% said it is greedy. 67% said it is corrupt

  • Over one-in-three (35%) think their vote doesn’t matter in an election

  • Nearly one-in-five (17%) are not on the electoral register.

Joe Curran, Senior Research Executive at Opinium, said: “It’s common to find that young people are critical of governments and more attracted to alternatives to the status-quo. Nonetheless, these results reveal a real dissatisfaction among 18-24 years olds about the state of the nation; many of them distrust the government and are more likely to think that it acts in the interests of the powerful and wealthy than the poor, the marginalised, and the young. Despite this, the data suggests that young people still have faith in democracy and elections which initiatives like National Voter Registration Day can hopefully harness.”

Mete Coban MBE, My Life My Say CEO, said: “The polling shows a wave of political dissatisfaction. Far from apathy, these responses show a real depth of feeling about politics. My Life My Say campaigns to boost youth participation in democracy. We’ve seen a wave of youth involvement in activism in the last few years - from Black Lives Matter to the climate movement and beyond. We’ll be doing our bit to turn that wave into a youthquake on National Voter Registration Day. If you’re not registered to vote, take five minutes to do it now. Don’t be late to the party.”

Details on fieldwork: Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 1000 young people aged 18-24 from March 24th to April 1st 2022. Results have been weighted to be nationally representative.

Founded in 2007 OPINIUM is an award-winning strategic insight agency built on the belief that in a world of uncertainty and complexity, success depends on the ability to stay on pulse of what people think, feel and do. Creative and inquisitive, the Opinium team is passionate about empowering clients to make the decisions that matter. Opinium works with organisations to define and overcome strategic challenges – helping them to get to grips with the world in which their brands operate. It uses the right approach and methodology to deliver robust insights, strategic counsel and targeted recommendations that generate change and positive outcomes. Opinium’s consultants are experts in political, financial services, tech, industrial, healthcare and consumer packaged goods research.


Mark Montegriffo, Communications Officer - Email:

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