90% of under-35s support marriage equality but only half will actually vote

Some 90% of young people say they would vote yes in the upcoming marriage equality referendum, but only just over half are likely to actually vote.

According to a survey of 1,000 people aged between 18 and 35 by youth communications agency Thinkhouse, the overwhelming majority are in favour of proposal in the marriage equality referedum, but just over half will actually vote.

When asked which way they would vote, 90% of those surveyed said they would vote yes. However, of those 90%, just over one in two (55%) said they would likely exercise their right to vote on May 22.

When asked ‘how many referendums are taking place on May 22?’ one in five of those surveyed thought we are only voting in one referendum, not two.

When it comes to seeking information on the referendum, 18- to 35-year-olds rank social media (77%) highest as a source, followed by family and friends at 60%, with word of mouth third at 53%. On whether they felt there is enough information available, 64% of respondents agreed that there is.

Of the 1,000 people surveyed, 81% claimed to be a registered voter, with one in four saying they are interested in Irish politics. More than half (53%) claim to have voted in the last general election, with one in every two (51%) saying they voted in the last presidential election.

When asked “which political party would you give first preference vote to if an election were called tomorrow?” 42% said they were undecided, while 21% claim they would “vote for an independent”

Some 66% agreed with the statement that the “marriage equality referendum will impact the rights of same-sex couples as parents”, while almost 94% agreed that marriage equality “supports a fair and equal Ireland where all people are treated the same”.

Only 6% agreed the referendum will has “an impact on existing marriage between a man and a woman”, while just 7% felt it has “an impact on any future marriage between a man and a woman”. Less than half agreed the referendum would have an effect on children.

Less than a third said they “feel they can have an effect on what the Government does”, with three in four saying they “feel the Government does not care about their opinions”.

Jane McDaid, founder of Thinkhouse, said she hoped young people would be motivated to vote on May 22.

“We expected passionate views on the subject of marriage equality and our survey shows how strongly 18- to 35-year-olds lean towards a yes vote,” said Ms McDaid. “Despite that, there’s a lack of intent to take to the polls. As the campaign heightens, I’d expect 18-35 year olds to become more motivated to ensure their vote is counted on May 22. Hopefully it’s just a case of leaving it to the last minute.”

The deadline for registering to vote is Tuesday, May 5.

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