Public support for votes at 16 in the UK : the effects of framing on rights and policy change

Greenwood-Hau, Joe and Gutting, Raynee S. (2021) Public support for votes at 16 in the UK : the effects of framing on rights and policy change. Parliamentary Affairs, 74 (3). pp. 542-562. ISSN 0031-2290

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    Abstract

    With votes at 16 implemented for local and devolved assembly elections in Scotland and Wales, the debate on the issue continues amongst politicians in England and Northern Ireland. Testing arguments that are often made in that debate, we analyse two survey experiments and show that framing on extending rights prompts higher support, whilst framing on policy change depresses support. These effects hold when priming on consistency of legal ages and are particularly strong amongst the very right-wing. A majority of the public remains opposed to votes at 16, but our results indicate the malleability of public opinion on the issue.