Coalition faces uphill battle in future because generation Z are seen sticking with progressive views in later life, thinktank says
Australians born after 1996 are the most progressive since the second world war, with the Coalition on track to tank in future elections if it can’t appeal to younger voters, a new report claims.
Titled “Generation Left: young voters deserting the right”, and released on Thursday by the Centre for Independent Studies thinktank, the report argues that generation Z adults – those born between 1996 and 2009 – are shaping up to be far less likely than any previous generation to become conservative as they age.
Analysing data from the Australian Election Study and making projections based on past trends, the report said that if low levels of support for the Coalition among generations born after 1980 continue, “the inevitable increase in the percentage of Millennial and generation Z voters will make it increasingly difficult for parties of the centre-right to win seats and maintain those they currently hold.”
Gen Z were 25.3 percentage points less likely to vote for the Coalition than the average voter, the report said.
More generally, Australians born after 1980 – including both millennials, which the report defines as those born between 1981 and 1995, and Gen Z – were less likely than their parents had been to shift to the right politically as they got older.
Boomers and generation X – those born after 1946 and 1965 respectively – were less likely than the average voter to vote for the Liberal and National parties until they reached their early 50s, the report said.
Millennials and gen Z made up 43.8% of voters in 2022 but by 2040 voters born after 1980 would make up nearly 70% of the electorate.
The report also suggested that the Coalition’s haemorrhaging of young people’s votes correlated with a higher primary vote for the Greens.
The analysis “strongly suggests even an increasing share of the vote from the shrinking Boomer/generation X slice of the electorate will be insufficient to return the Coalition to power in the medium term,” the report said.
The author of the report, Matthew Taylor, said the path back to power for the Coalition was “narrow”, and “that road goes through Millennials and generation Z; not around them”.
“Underneath the short-term political cycles are structural features of the electorate – like generational demography – that can have a significant impact on how often a party is able to form government,” Taylor said. “For the first time in decades, this structural tide is starting to turn against the Coalition.”
“The government policy we get will be very different if it is shaped by a centre-left government, held to account by a far-left opposition, than by one of the centre-right.”
Source: The Guardian