3 Generational Myths About The Election That Need Debunking, Stat

3 Generational Myths About The Election That Need Debunking, Stat

Researchers have reported that the generational divide is now the biggest divide in politics. On July 4, the number of eligible Gen Z voters will also have doubled from the last General Election – from 7% of the electorate in 2019 to 15% in 2024. Gen Z and Millennials now form a sizeable voting block, with 42% of the vote. (Source: Society Watch 2024, Fig 1).

 

We have found in our work at Beatfreeks that generational myths intensify in times of crisis and division. The general election 2024 (genny lec) has been no exception. Just look at the debate around national service. At the root of these mythologies is people talking about younger generations, not to them.

 

To get to the bottom of this, Beatfreeks surveyed a nationally representative group of over 1,000 Gen Z and Millennials to find out how they are preparing for the election.

MYTH #1 – ‘GEN Z WANT TO BUY HOUSES, SMOKE WEED, AND DO CRIMES’

This shocking headline from the Big Issue is brilliant (if troubling?) example of using clickbait myths (read the actual research here) to address the very real social issue of housing, which is predicted to be a defining policy issue for Gen Z especially in Genny Lec 2024. 

 

We asked Gen Z & Millennials what their top 3 most important social issues were right now. Spoiler alert: buying houses, smoking weed, and doing crimes did not top the list. What did?

YES – a whopping 52% of Gen Z and 69% of Millennials say that cozzie livs is the most important social issue right now. This absolutely includes housing:

It’s very hard to find an affordable place to live, especially when it’s also hard to find work at the same time and you can’t have one without the other. Millennial, female, Yorkshire & Humber

NO – Gen Z and Millennials are experiencing the housing crisis embedded within cozzie livs and a lack of jobs:

Everything is getting more expensive and for students this is a problem. Our student loan only covers our rent, so having to pay inflated prices for items (courtesy of the cost of living crisis) is not good. Gen Z, male, South East

One Gen Z captured the cozzie livs vibe perfectly when they said:

And with the cost of living crisis HONESTLY I DON’T HAVE A SINGLE PENNY IN MY POCKET I FEEL LIKE OLIVER TWIST THIS NEEDS TO BE SORTED OR IM MOVING TO ITALY – Gen Z, Female, Yorkshire and Humber

#2 ‘MY GEN Z FRIENDS WOULD RATHER VOTE IN THE LOVE ISLAND FINAL THAN THE ELECTION’

Another eye-catching headline (again drawing on problematic myths!) from GK Barry. Recent research found that young people are at least 68% more likely to vote in reality TV shows than in elections

 

The myth of the politically disengaged and apathetic Gen Z has resurfaced in the many alarm bells ringing about low voter turnout. This is not without precedent – there is a turnout gap, and some experts are predicting that voter ID requirements will create further barriers to voting, including for younger generations. 


We wanted to know: is genny lec still seen as relevant to Gen Z & Millennials? The answer was a resounding YES.

So, if younger generations are keener on reality TV than politics, why is genny lec still so relevant?

If power is important, then where do Gen Z & Millennials feel they have the most power to make change on the issues that matter to them? Protest? Volunteering? Ethical consumerism?

As Gen Z Shaniya Odulawa wrote in the Guardian:


It’s far too easy to write us off as an apathetic demographic when the main parties seem to be trying to lose our vote. We are engaged in politics: we protest, we volunteer, but we don’t vote, because we are offered nothing.

#3 TIKTOK, TIME TO VOTE

This is not a real headline (it should be). But it speaks to a myth that has been circulating since at least the pandemic – that the rise of Gen Z consuming news on social media marks the dawning of a ‘post-truth’ media age

 

Back in the real world, there is no question that the fight for the Gen Z vote is taking place on TikTok. So, what are Gen Z & Millennials researching online, and where are they researching who to vote for?

 

With cozzie livs looming large, it is hardly surprising that in the last 3 months, more Gen Z and Millennials have been online researching ‘ways to make money’ (25%) than ‘politics’ (8%). 

 

This is not to say that Gen Z & Millennials aren’t researching who to vote for – a massive 88% of them said that they are. However, there are differences in how Millennials and Gen Z are researching who to vote for:

So, will TikTok swing Genny Lec? Maybe. There’s no question that being where people are is an important way to build connection, familiarity, maybe even trust (Farage is doing surprisingly well at this). However, it is clear that connecting with party leaders alone won’t cut it – almost four times as many Millennials & Gen Z (36%) said that their vote would be most influenced by policy than by party leaders (8%)

COMING SOON: LESSONS FOR BRANDS FROM GENNY LEC

What’s this got to do with brands, you say? Our data shows that brands are lagging behind traditional politics with Gen Z & Millennials when it comes to power, trust and voice. Get into it with us in our deeper dive report ‘lessons for brands from genny lec’. 

Get in touch with us at bravethefuture@beatfreeks.com if you’d like to receive a copy.

See also: 10 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT GEN Z & MILLENNIALS BEFORE THE GENERAL ELECTION

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