An exclusive BMG poll commissioned by the Electoral Reform Society found that young people are far less engaged in the referendum debate compared with older voters.

The results revealed that just 21% of 18 to 24 year olds say they are ‘very interested’ in the EU referendum, compared with almost half (47%) of those aged 65 or above. The figure rises to 26% for 25 to 34 year olds and 35% for 55 to 64 year olds.

The data also revealed a socioeconomic divide as well as an age divide, with 36% of ABC1 respondents saying they are ‘very interested’ in the referendum compared to just 27% of those classified as C2DE. Overall, 76% of ABC1 respondents said they are interested compared to just 59% of the C2DE demographic.

Readers can interrogate the data for themselves for the different age and classification groups by toggling with the menu in the chart below.

EU referendum voting intention results indicate that 58% of people say they will ‘definitely vote’ and a further 15% say they will ‘probably vote’. However, only 44% of 18 to 24 year olds say they would definitely vote if an EU referendum was held tomorrow, compared with 76% of those aged 65 or older.

Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said “More than double the number of older voters say they are very interested in the EU referendum compared to 18-24 year olds highlights a deeply concerning generation gap in this debate. It seems like young people haven’t been engaged in a debate which has so far focused on personalities rather than the real issues which affect them.”

“We need to do everything we can to make sure everyone is involved in this huge democratic decision, which will affect all of us. The campaigns and the media clearly need to reach out far wider in targeting a wider range of the public – from young people to economically marginalised groups.”

“The British public deserve a real debate, and this polling shows the stark need to do everything we can to make sure this referendum isn’t decided by a select few but by the whole country.”

“Let’s open up this referendum out of the Westminster bubble and into communities around the UK, so that the public truly have faith in the result.”


An article based on these polling results, released by the Electoral Reform Society, can be found here.

Data tables containing a breakdown of the results can be found here.

As part of its ‘A Better Referendum’ programme, the ERS will be releasing extensive monthly BMG polling on the EU, including tracker questions on:

  • How informed people feel about the referendum
  • Which campaigns voters have heard from (and how)
  • What percentage of people the public think are likely to vote (wisdom of crowds)
  • How negative/positive both sides are seen in their campaigning

The BMG poll, commissioned by the Electoral Reform Society has featured in The Guardian, The Express, Buzzfeed and The Huffington Post.

For further details about this poll, or to arrange an interview, contact Will Brett, Head of Campaigns and Communications at the Electoral Reform Society, on 07979696265 or

For any other results from our polling series, please feel free to get in touch with BMG by email or phone.

Lauren Harris – Research Executive



0121 333 6006

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