NEWS5 December 2017

Millennial mums turn to social media for politics

News Trends UK

UK – The influence of social media on millennial voters was far greater than among older voters, according to research by parenting website and online forum Mumsnet and Ipsos Mori.

Millennial voters are much more likely than older voters to say social media was ‘very important’ to their voting decisions in the 2017 General Election according to the report.

Although informal discussions, news and leader debates/interviews were the most important to people’s decisions, 41% of those aged 18- to 34-years-old said social media was important to their vote – compared with just 8% of those aged 55+.

For young people, online sites were just as important a source of news as TV and radio. Social media overtook print as their third biggest source of news. Those aged 55+, on the other hand, were much more likely to rely on print than any online source.

In Mumsnet focus groups, younger mothers, aged between 20 and 26, were much readier than older millennial mothers (aged 27 to 37 ) to say that their voting decisions in the 2017 General Election were influenced by what they saw on social media.

Mumsnet CEO Justine Roberts said: "Twenty-something mothers grew up with social media and are very matter-of-fact about its influence; to them, it’s simply another media source, to be embraced or rejected, critiqued or shared.

"Millennial mothers spoke passionately about the range of policy decisions and real-world concerns that affected their voting decisions, but what seems clear is that the commanding organic reach of pro-Labour messages on social media played a significant role in affirming and reinforcing their emerging choices."

Gideon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos MORI, said: "While it’s important not to overstate the influence of social media on people’s vote – traditional sources remain important too – our previous research with millennials has shown how much more of their life is online compared with older generations, particularly in terms of their active engagement online and with social media.

"The new data shows that this fed through to this year’s election too, with young people much more likely than older voters to rely on social media, both as a discussion forum and a source of news too."