Most young voters unlikely to ever back Tories, according to major ITV poll

Young voters appear to oppose the Tories more than ever before. Credit: PA

Additional reporting by Lili Donlon-Mansbridge

Young people are disillusioned with politics, distrusting of politicians and desperate to see dramatic change, according to a major new poll released this week by ITV News and ITV's Peston.

The findings reveal that while 18 to 25-year-olds believe the economy is the number one issue for the country as a whole, mental health provision is the most pressing concern for young people like them, followed by education and then housing.

The revelations come from the first results of a new Youth Tracker - which is being launched this week - to follow the attitudes of young people over the next year and in the run-up to the general election.

ITV News and ITV's Peston have commissioned Savanta to carry out three major polls - covering views on politicians and their parties, government institutions and a wide range of policies.

Speaking on ITV's Peston, Levelling Up and Housing Secretary Michael Gove described the first results as "arresting" and demanding "pause for thought".

They certainly highlight major challenges for his political party, with headline voting intention figures appearing to highlight a potentially existential threat.

60% of young people said they would vote Labour if there was a general election tomorrow - compared to 15% saying Tory.

Although it is not surprising to see young people choose Labour over the Tories, the gap is far wider than in 2010 and even 1997 - ahead of Labour's landslide under Tony Blair.

And, worryingly for Conservatives, 57% say they would never or are unlikely to ever vote Tory.

But there are worrying trends for Labour too. Sir Keir Starmer is only just net positive in approval ratings.

He's well ahead of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, but a fair way behind his party overall and young people are (slightly) more likely to say Jeremy Corbyn would be a better Labour leader.

A lot of young people strongly disapprove of the PM. He's far more disliked among this group than Sir Keir.

But while the Labour leader is ahead on approval overall, interestingly he is behind Mr Sunak on those who "strongly approve" - suggesting he isn't inspiring this group as much as Labour would hope.

Meanwhile, it is clear that although young adults remain hopeful for their own futures they are worried about their economic outlook, overturning the long-held belief that the next generation will do better than the last.

Instead, the poll found that 45% - the biggest group - believe their generation will be worse off than their parents' one.

Meanwhile, there were big concerns about housing - which was higher up the priority list than for the general population - in second place when asked about the most important issue for the country as a whole and third for young people themselves.

61% spent more than 40% of their income on rent and bills.

They believe that Labour is much better placed to solve the housing challenge and, in fact, put Sir Keir's party ahead across all policy areas.

But on one area that they perhaps disagree with the opposition right now, a huge 86% would vote to rejoin the EU in a fresh referendum.

Perhaps most worrying was the lack of trust in the police but also politicians.

Most felt that politicians didn't really care about young people like them and only 5% had "a lot of trust" in UK politics. More than two-thirds had "not much" or no trust at all.

It may be the case that young people are less likely to vote than their older counterparts, but our data shows they are deeply engaged in policy and want to see results.

They are a voting group strong enough that parties cannot simply ignore them.

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