What influences young people to vote

Family and friends can be influential in encouraging young people on low incomes to vote, new research has found. Published in the journal Child Development, the study discovered a link between political activism and the ballot box - with those who engage in such activities being more likely to mark their preference.

According to the investigation, discussions with parents and peers are more effective at getting youngsters involved in politics than the influence of teachers.

Matthew Diemer, Associate Professor of Education at Michigan State University - which boasts a history of more than 150 years - said many educators are not given much freedom and autonomy when speaking to their classes about social injustice - meaning the kids are less likely to be swayed by one set of beliefs or another.

Mr Diemer added: "I think it's also important for students to understand what motivates people to participate in political and social issues and to have lasting commitments."

Dr Ashley Weinberg, a Chartered Psychologist from the University of Salford, commented: "I suppose it's not too surprising that youngsters who are more likely to share values with family and friends will go on to develop similar political attitudes to the people closer to them, rather than to teachers who they may not see as sharing similar values."