Cyprus: 58% of young population believes politicians only care about their seat

Cyprus: 58% of young population believes politicians only care about their seat

Looking to become an important tool in the youth policy-making process and a valuable source of knowledge about the real needs of young people, the Youth Board of Cyprus decided to institute a pan-Cypriot Youth Barometer survey, which will be conducted twice a year. The aim of the Youth Barometer is to depict the situation of young people in Cyprus and explore their views and attitudes on various issues such as education, employment, health and active participation in the public.

During the November-December 2020 period, the second Youth Barometer was conducted to examin the current situation of young people, the effects of the pandemic, young people’s expectations for the future and their perceptions of politics and public participation, in view of the upcoming Parliamentary Elections. The study included 1000 young men and women aged 14-35 years, who were selected by random sampling.

According to the findings of the research, the majority (64%) of young people today seem to be satisfied with their lifestyle. This marks, however, a significant decrease compared to the corresponding figure (85%) of the 1st Youth Barometer carried out at the beginning of 2020.

Job prospects (76%), finding a job (68%), the future of the country (65%) and the pandemic (53%) make up the most pressing concerns for young people today.

The pandemic and the related restrictive measures seem to have had a significant impact on the daily lives of the vast majority of young people (86%), with the greatest impact being recorded in the “entertainment” aspect (8.21/10), followed by the “mental state” (6.99/10) and the “education” aspect (6.02/10).

Due to the effects of the pandemic, the biggest concerns of young people relate to the possibility of a new economic crisis (73%), rising unemployment among young people (66%) and the prospect of a new lifestyle being cemented, rooted in restrictive measures (59%).

The participation of Cypriot youth in organized social groups remains low, as most of them state they are not affiliated with a political party (89%), a student group (90%), a cultural group (87%), an environmental association ( 91%) or a youth center (91%). The highest participation rates were found in volunteering (29%) and sports teams (31%).

The majority of young people also record a declined interest regarding politics, with a percentage of 65% declaring little or no interest.

Regarding the exercise of their right to vote in electoral contests, young participants appear divided, with 54% stating they are used to voting and 46% answering in the negative.

85% of young people say they agree or somewhat agree with the statement “politicians only care about their seat”. The majority (77%) also disagrees with the statement that “politicians create the vision for a better society”. Nevertheless, the majority of young people (60%) disagree with the statement that “politicians are all the same”.

The vast majority of young people (86%) say they are somewhat or not at all satisfied with the trust shown by the party leadership in young people to assume key positions in the party structure. At the same time, 85% of respondents say they are somewhat or not at all satisfied with the extent to which parties select young people for their ballots.

Their duty to vote as active citizens (57%) and the fact that their vote is important (48%) constitute the main motives for young people to show up at the polls. On the contrary, those who abstain from voting state their lack of trust in politics and politicians (58%) as the most important reason, followed by their lack of interest in politics (42%).

When asked about their source of influence regarding whom they will be voting for, 33% of young people say they are not influenced, 27% mention their family, while the party’s position follows with 19%.

A party’s ideology (57%), its positions on the Cyprus issue (55%) and the economy (52%) constitute the three primary criteria forming young voters’ decision regarding political parties. When it comes to choosing among candidates, young voters place particular emphasis on the new ideas voiced by them in various issues (69%), followed by the work done until today (67%) and their level of honesty (66%).

As for the factors that would increase show-up at the polls among young voters, more interest on the part of politicians regarding the youth (46%), a belief that voting would lead to change (43%), a fairer approach (38%) or a young candidate (34%) comprise the most widely mentioned responses.

Interestingly, among young people who said they were not used to voting, 19% responded they would definitely vote and 24% would probably vote, were they given the opportunity to vote online. Additionally, 23% of the same proportion of young people say they would definitely vote if horizontal voting were allowed.

As for voting intentions for the 2021 Parliamentary Elections, 31% stated “Definitely yes”, 20% “Probably yes”, 12% “Probably not”, 11% “Definitely not” and 26% “I have not decided yet”.

The most commonly mentioned goals of young people for the next five years are professional prestige (79%), financial independence (68%), fulfillment of their dreams (69%) and acquisition of property (63%).

Finally, 61% of young people say they are optimistic about the future of their own generation, while for the future of future generations, the optimism rate drops to 33%.

The research was conducted by IMR-University of Nicosia on behalf of the Youth Board of Cyprus. The full report has been published on the website of the Youth Board of Cyprus in Greek. /ibna