Twitter Research Shows Young Voters Are Highly Affected By Pollie’s Online Behaviours

İstanbul, Turkey - February 10, 2019: Woman using smart phone on a couch. The smart phone is an iPhone 8 displaying Twitter application.  iPhone is a touchscreen smartphone developed by Apple Inc.

New research from Twitter Australia reveals that a politician’s online actions and behaviour are extremely important to young Australians aged 18 to 24, with 63 percent saying this would influence their vote, compared to 47 percent of the total population.

The research, conducted in partnership with YouGov, also found more than one in three young Australians believe action on climate change to be the most important political issue when deciding who to vote for, followed by the economy and healthcare (including COVID-19).

With the Federal Election being held on 21 May, Twitter Australia and the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) are encouraging young Australians to register to vote and have their voices heard.

Based on the most recent statistics from the AEC, 17.1 million Australians, or 96.5% of the estimated proportion of eligible Australians, are enrolled to vote. While still remarkably high by international standards, by comparison the national youth enrolment rate is considerably lower – 84.4% with over 1.2 million people aged 18-24 years old enrolled to vote.

“The public conversation on Twitter is more important than ever during elections, with research showing more than one third of young Australians will get the majority of their political information from social media during the election campaign,” said Kara Hinesley, public policy director, Twitter Australia & New Zealand.

“This is why Twitter is encouraging first-time voters going to the polls to share their #MyFirstDemocracySausage experience on Twitter and showcase their political power.”

Having a #DemocracySausage on election day is a cornerstone of Australian democracy — and Australians take to Twitter to discuss the political issues, topics, and candidates that matter to them most, as well as the sweet taste of electoral participation.

Regardless of whether you believe the sausage or onion goes first, our special Australia Election emoji will appear from today whenever people Tweet using any of the following hashtags:

  • #MyFirstDemocracySausage
  • #DemocracySausage
  • #SausageSizzle
  • #AusVotes2022
  • #AusVotes22
  • #AusVotes
  • #Auspol

“We’re thrilled to see this drive for young Australians to register to vote, share their #MyFirstDemocracySausage experience, and support Twitter’s broader efforts to elevate credible and reliable information on their service during this year’s Federal Election,” said AEC digital engagement director Evan Ekin-Smyth.

“Young people can enrol to vote now at including people who are 17 years old but turn 18 on or before election day. Even if you’re not a first-time voter, eligible Australians should keep their enrolment up to date before the electoral roll closes.”

Bad online behaviour from pollies a turn off

Twitter’s research identified that 80% of young people would be turned off voting for a politician that spread mis or disinformation online. Other leading turn offs include participating in online fights (53%) and if a politician were to criticise their opponent on social media (30%).

Online behaviours that would actively encourage young people to vote for a politician include encouraging informed and civic debate (30%), demonstrating community impact (29%), and responding to constituents’ requests for help (16%).

“Twitter is where people come to for credible information about where, when, and how to vote. We are committed to facilitating meaningful political debate, driving civic participation, and protecting the integrity of the election conversation from manipulation,” Hinesley added.

If you’re voting at a Federal Election for the first time, Tweet using #MyFirstDemocracySausage to encourage your friends to enrol to vote, express what political issues are important to you, and share your spicy #DemocracySausage opinions!

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