With the EU Referendum almost here Cameron is relying on renewed efforts to increase turnout. But are they ironically too late?
In his efforts to increase a very low youth turnout, the Prime Minister turns his efforts to LAD Bible and Tinder, as he desperately campaigns for a remain vote.
After his election victory, David Cameron rushed to change the voting system. In his purely partisan efforts to implement Individual Electoral Registration (IER) — against expert advice to phase-in the policy over a longer period — he knocked more than 800,000 people off the electoral register over the last year. Most of those affected were younger voters, who now find themselves at the desperate pleas of the Prime Minster ‘to get out and vote’. He may have saved the Conservative Party by taking away the vote from its largest critics, but it may now lead to his demise in June.
18-24-year-olds are the most likely to vote to remain, but the least likely to vote. In comparison, the Leave side can rely on the UK’s older Eurosceptic voters, who are the most likely to turn out and vote.
Until last week, where the Remain campaign’s economic warnings played benefit to the telephone polls, statistics showed very little movement. But online polls (where some experts believe voters feel safer to express their opinions) now state a Leave vote.
It seems incredibly unlikely for the polls to change from their current tight picture — it really is going to be a close race. Youth turnout may be the difference that tips the scales, and the Prime Minster has turned to his most unlikely of friends.
‘The Referendum campaign has brought together the most unlikeliest of friends, and turned foe and friend, at least until June 23rd’ — David Cameron.
Over recent months, the government has also begged media heads for more tax, blamed them for not watching terrorist conversations and has begun monitoring users with much more scrutiny. It was the bosses of social media companies who found themselves at the receiving end of the wishes of David Cameron.
Mr Cameron addressed a meeting in Downing Street on Friday, with senior figures from websites including Facebook and Twitter to encourage seven million under-40s, ethnic minorities and private tenants to register to vote before the June 7 deadline.
‘He seemed fairly clued-up’, a source at the meeting told the Times newspaper. ‘His presence showed the government desperately wants to rally the tech community and use our skills’.
Officially, the meeting was convened to encourage non-partisan electoral registration, but the decision to target young people will help to bolster support for Remain.
LAD Bible’s menu of viral videos aimed at men aged between 18 and 30 has made it an internet phenomenon with 12 million Facebook subscribers.
Its plans will include homepage takeovers and editorials about the EU alongside its usual content of bizarre stories, weird pictures and celebrity revelations.
Tinder is expected to work with Bite the Ballot to persuade single people using the site to get more involved in the EU debate. A similar project was launched in the US this year to match users with candidates in the race for the White House.
The Prime Minister is hoping for a bright, new and more inciting campaign, vying for youth votes — contrary to the underwhelming efforts that have been seen in past elections.
The success of these plans will/can be judged only by the result on June 23rd.
David Cameron hoped that by holding the EU Referendum he would be able to eventually stop the issue that has caused a dangerous split at the heart of the Conservative Party for decades. He hoped that by knocking younger voters off the electoral register he would be able to shield the Tories from some of their opposition in upcoming elections.
The Prime Minister needs to be careful of what he hopes for. Both of his recent hopes have backfired. The Referendum has only increased the violent splits in his party, whilst the lack of younger voters may be the reason for booting him out of Downing Street.
Oh well, Mr Cameron you have saved your party from younger voters in 2020, that’s if the Tory party recovers from your grand idea of a referendum — of course it was going to heal the wounds of the past!