Apathy excites Notts Trent

February 15, 2002

Political apathy among Britain's first-time voters is to be examined by Nottingham Trent University researchers in the first study of its kind.

The project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, begins as concerns grow over voter disillusionment.

Concern about first-time voters was raised at the last general election, when only 38 per cent turned out - nearly half the proportion that voted in the previous election.

Data will be collected from a national postal survey targeting more than 3,000 of the young people who were old enough to vote in the election last year.

Mark Weinstein, researcher and senior lecturer in Nottingham Trent's department of economics, said it was the first time that such information has been gathered. Previous studies have concentrated on the wider 18-24 age group.

His research colleague, Matt Henn, said: "While the government is exploring ways to make the process of voting easier - with ideas such as voting over the telephone and the internet - it may be failing to tackle the real problem."

Previous research has found that many first-time voters feel disenchanted with politics and politicians.

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