Youth charity vInspired is calling on all party leaders to pledge to deliver their top five election promises affecting under 25s on Twitter following low turn out of under 25s at the ballot.

Following last week’s local and European elections, only 36% of voters turned out to the polling stations, furthermore an even smaller percentage of under 25s voted that originally anticipated, despite the fact that 6.8million are eligible.

This figure further cements the findings of a study commissioned by youth charity, vInspired, stating the election is set to be won or lost on social media; with young voters calling upon parties to adopt new techniques to woo them to the ballot box. The study, as part of the charity’s, Swing The Vote campaign, has shown that 45% of young, would-be voters want leaders to deliver their manifesto promises for the May 2015 General Election via social media, Instagram videos and YouTube.

Two in three (64%) admit that politics would be ‘easier to digest and understand’ if delivered on Twitter and 69% stated that a politician could win their vote if they were to embrace social media to communicate their principles and promises.

As a result, vInspired’s Swing The Vote campaign is calling on all party leaders to pledge to deliver their five main election promises to help under 25s, in 140 characters each, when their manifesto is finalised.

The Swing The Vote campaign aims to empower young people to make their voices heard and take part in the political process. The campaign is calling on politicians to ensure politics is relevant, so that young people feel empowered and encouraged to have a say in the nation’s future.

Accounting for nearly 14% of the electorate, the youth vote is incredibly powerful. Despite bypassing the ballot box in the past, this generation is highly politically and socially active with four in five (80%) having taken action on issues and causes in the last year. Over half (51%) have signed an online petition, 22% have tweeted about a cause or issue and one in five (19%) has even gone as far as boycotting a company’s products or services.

The call for parties to adopt a more ‘online’ style of politics follows the approach adopted by Barack Obama. It is this, which has seen Obama, a keen social media user, followed by one in five (20%) of the nation’s youth, with David Cameron (13%), Ed Miliband (8%), Nick Clegg (6%) and Nigel Farage (5.4%) trailing behind.

37% of respondents went so far as to say that they were less likely to vote in next year’s election if there wasn’t a change to the way UK politicians looked to engage with them; showing that now is the time for the party leaders to embrace a new way of campaigning.

One in four (25%) claimed that social media was the medium most likely to make them aware of issues of political importance.

Moira Swinbank, vInspired Chief Executive said:

“The more young people begin to believe in the power of their vote, the more they will be able to influence the positions of the major parties and the more they will be able to expect from them. Whether it’s more meaningful action to tackle climate change or greater university funding that drive young people to the ballot box, the youth vote is crucial and should not be ignored

“At vInspired we see thousands of young people give their time voluntarily to make the world a better place by being socially engaged on issues and campaigns that matter to them – they just need politicians to connect with them and show them that they can make a difference, change the world and Swing The Vote.”

Ed Miliband, Labour Party leader said:

“We urgently need to give young people a greater voice in our political debate – that’s why the next Labour government will give 16 and 17 year olds the vote.

“vInspired’s excellent campaign is a really important way of getting young people engaged in politics.”

Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat Party leader said:

“It is incredibly important that young people have their say at the general election in 2015. The low engagement level of young people in this country’s political process is worrying. I hope that vInspired’s call for political parties to deliver their top five election priorities will get political parties thinking about how to get young people engaged and enthused about the issues that affect them.

“Twitter is a very powerful way of talking and listening to young people and I and the Liberal Democrats will tweet our top five policies for the under 25s when our manifesto is finalised”.

Natalie Bennett, Green Party Leader said:

“I am delighted to support the Swing the Vote campaign. For real change in our democracy it is vital that younger voters get more involved in politics. They need opportunities, encouragement and support, and this is one step towards that.”

The Swing The Vote campaign is calling on Britain’s youth to say what would make them vote by uploading an Instagram video using #SwingTheVote. The videos will be collated into a short film that will be presented to the leading political parties and used to campaign for better representation of young people in politics.

vInspired is challenging party leaders to respond to the Swing The Vote call and deliver the first step to winning the youth vote. It will now be a case of who uses social media in the best way up until 7th May 2015.

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