First-time voters in the 2020 general election feel an urgent need for reassurance about their future, but have no faith in any current politicians to offer it, according to new research for the Edelman Trust Barometer.

The study shows that the 1,000 16 to 18-year-olds surveyed fret about their place in a world that is changing too fast for their comfort. It paints a picture of an angst-ridden generation, worried about their chances of success in adult life.

  • The pace of change is too fast. 3 in 5 think social media is changing too quickly, 2 in 5 are concerned about AI and robotics, and nearly half feel the pace of change in mobile technology is too fast.
  • Party politics and current political leaders are disdained – asked to choose who they might vote for to be Prime Minister, the clear winner was ‘None of the Above’
  • Facts still matter. Youngsters are more trusting of experts than their elders. 9 in 10 say they are influenced by fact-based arguments rather than emotional appeals, and 3 in 5 expect their sources to be grounded in evidence

While the national survey shows that tomorrow’s adults are alarmed by the legacy of Brexit, and agonise about their financial security, they are distrusting of all institutions to do what is right for their future.

We brought together a panel of 16-18-year-olds, representing all UK regions, to hear their concerns, frustrations and challenges about the future. Ed Williams, CEO of Edelman UK and former Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls, also joined the panel to provide their perspectives.