The 2016 General Election is expected to attract the largest ever youth vote according to new research. 

The Youth Lab, the insights and trends division of digital agency Thinkhouse conducted an in-depth study around youth and politics in Ireland today. It reveals the views, attitudes and influential factors that will shape how today’s 18-35 year olds respond to the forthcoming election. 92% of those surveyed are registered to vote, with 83% saying they plan to vote in the upcoming election on 26th February. 

The study also discovered that the lack of leadership amongst the major parties being a big factor. 45% said that they did not like any of the party leaders with Independent candidates rising in popularity amongst the youth. When asked to rank their preferences in order, the parties who came out on top with young people are: 1st: Independents, 2nd: Social Democrats and the 3rd: Green Party.

Policies that young people feel aren't being debated enough include ‘Environmental issues', ‘Culture and The Arts' and ‘Education’. The candidates who come out on top with young people are the ones that address these issues head on and put them at the heart of their manifestos.

When asked who most influences their voting decisions, young people cited their friends (91%) and parents (79%) as having the most influence on their voting decision. This shows that, while media outlets still hold sway, those closest to young people still have the greatest influence over them.