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Generation Corbyn

Why Labour Outperformed Among British Youth

Jeremy Corbyn at a campaign event in Leeds, May 2017.  Phil Noble / REUTERS

In the weeks before the United Kingdom’s June 8 elections, pollsters had predicted that the Labour Party would lose up to 56 seats, handing Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives a massive majority in Parliament. In “Don’t Blame Corbyn” (May 25, 2017), I argued that Labour’s poor prospects stemmed not from the party’s leadership but from the demobilization of its traditional base—especially British youth. The percentage of young British people lacking a party affiliation, I noted, leapt from 14.7 percent in 1989 to more than 41 percent in 2014. “If the snap election were decided by the preferences of voters under 40, Labour would be the clear winner,” I wrote. “Yet many of those voters will stay home on election day, and their abstention will be a decisive factor in May’s likely victory.”

Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, Labour bucked these trends. Instead of losing dozens of seats, Labour gained 30, denying May’s

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