Instamums for Corbyn?

Research by Mumsnet and Ipsos MORI looks at social media’s influence on millennial mothers at the 2017 General Election

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs
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A new report by Mumsnet and Ipsos MORI, released today, shows that millennial voters are much more likely than older voters to say social media was ‘very important’ to their voting decisions in the 2017 General Election.

While informal discussions, news and leader debates/interviews were the most important to people’s decisions, 41% of those aged 18-34 said social media was important to their vote, compared with just 8% of those aged 55+.  Furthermore, for young people online sites were just as important as a source of news as TV and radio, with social media overtaking print as their third biggest source of news.  Those aged 55+, on the other hand, were much more likely to rely on print than any online source.

Mothers aged between 20 and 26 in Mumsnet focus groups were much readier than older millennial mothers (aged 27 to 37) to say their voting decisions in the 2017 General Election were influenced by what they saw on social media - and across entire millennial age band, mothers reported that the posts they saw on social media were heavily skewed towards Labour.

Even those who voted Conservative or followed official Conservative accounts reported that the social media posts they saw were overwhelmingly pro-Labour. Among women in this age group, pro-Corbyn and anti-May viewpoints were so prevalent that the ‘bubble’ effect - in which Tory supporters might have expected not to see many pro-Labour posts - broke down.

Ipsos MORI’s election estimates show that Labour achieved an enormous lead in the millennial vote, taking 62% of the votes of 18-24 year olds and 56% among 25-34 year olds. Young women voted for Labour in greater numbers than any other age/sex cohort, giving Labour a whopping 73% of the vote among women aged 18-24 (compared with 52% of the vote among men in the same age group).

The joint report uses national polling data and focus group findings to examine how millennial mums (those aged between 18 and 37) used social media in the run-up to the 2017 General Election - and whether it influenced this group’s strong swing towards Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.

Mumsnet CEO Justine Roberts said:

Twenty-something mothers grew up with social media and are very matter-of-fact about its influence; to them, it’s simply another media source, to be embraced or rejected, critiqued or shared. Millennial mothers spoke passionately about the range of policy decisions and real-world concerns that affected their voting decisions, but what seems clear is that the commanding organic reach of pro-Labour messages on social media played a significant role in affirming and reinforcing their emerging choices.

Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos MORI, said:

While it’s important not to overstate the influence of social media on people’s vote – traditional sources remain important too – our previous research with millennials has shown how much more of their life is online compared with older generations, particularly in terms of their active engagement online and with social media.  This new data shows that this fed through to this year’s election too, with young people much more likely than older voters to rely on social media, both as a discussion forum and a source of news too.

Technical note

Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,052 adults aged 18 and over across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone between 27th October and 1st November 2017, and data are weighted to the profile of the population.

Ipsos MORI 2017 General Election estimates have been aggregated over the course of the campaign to allow for more robust measurement of sub-populations. Data on voting turnout include 7,505 adults aged 18+ within Great Britain (of whom we have classified 5,255 as likely voters). Respondents were interviewed by telephone and online between 21 April – 7 June 2017. The proportions of voters for each party and non-voters are weighted to the actual results by region. The data were also weighted to the population profile of Great Britain.

Over 50 members of Mumsnet participated in one of 3 different online, private focus groups. Each group was comprised of mothers (and mothers-to-be) who are in the 'millennial' age bracket - that is were aged 37 or under as of 31 December 2017. Each group was composed of women of similar age (26 and under, 27-29 and 31+). All groups were a mix of backgrounds and political preferences. Questions were posed three times to the group across the week of 16 October 2017.

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs

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