No youthquake, youth tremor needs phenomenal turnout

The youthquake looks to be dead in the water ahead of tomorrow's election with the latest enrolment numbers from the Electoral Commission showing  that while there's been improvements in the 25 to 39 segments, the 18-24 segment is well down on 2014, while those over 55 are also well up. Looking at the total makeup of enrolled voters, it shows a clear shift towards grey segments.

Relative change.png

While the gap has eased somewhat from the 19 September numbers I wrote about earlier today there's still a clear shift in the overall makeup of the electorate towards voters aged 55 and over. The scale of the problem facing any possible youthquake tomorrow evening becomes clear when you put the enrolment numbers through the likelihood to turnout from 2014.

Change in makeup of actual voters 22 September.png

Assuming similar rates of turnout across all age groups as 2014, there's still around a 4 percentage point shift towards voters aged 55 an over. 

To put this in context - a 10 point lift in turnout on those reduced enrolment numbers for the 18 to 39 segments is the bare minimum required just to negate the growth in the grey segments since 2014. That also assumes there's no though it'll be those aged between 40 and 54 who actually get squeezed the most due to the growth of the age segments above them over the past three years, and their higher probability to vote.

While there's no official data yet - I believe we might get figures in October - for the scale of Jeremy Corbyn's youthquake, current estimates put it at around 10 points. It's worth remember that Corbyn's youthquake only worked for him because of their FPP system, as overall the Conservatives did drive up their share of the vote to 42% (from 37% in 2015). So while the youthquake was valuable in individual seats, in an MMP system it would have done very little to impact things other than mitigating the likely damage caused to UK Labour.

That means that Jacinda Ardern and Labour are hoping on not only a bigger youthquake than Jeremy Corbyn managed, but also lower turnout in those aged 55 and over, or for those aged 40 to 54 to turnout out in favour of Labour more so than they have in their past. Of those, given that our youth turnout has been higher than the UK's, I suspect hoping on a bigger youthquake than what we saw in June seems very unlikely, so they'll now be hoping on those final two things to go their way enough.

With all this in mind, I think what we'll see at most is a youth tremor. The good news for Labour is that in such a close MMP election, even a tremor be just enough to tip the numbers in their favour for a Labour, Greens, and Maori Party government.