Instamums for Corbyn?

Jeremy Corbyn

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

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 that their voting decisions in the 2017 General Election were influenced by what they saw on social media. Looking across the 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- to 24-year-olds and 56% among 25- to 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. The 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.”

Read the full report here.