How the young and old vote differently – By Teo Xuanwei | SINGAPORE, 27-May-2011 – Younger voters here tend to consider issues and political candidates more when it comes to casting their ballots, a survey has found.

Older voters, on the other hand, view the political party and its leadership as more important.

The Merdeka Center poll, conducted between April 27 and May 5, also threw up other distinctions in political attitudes between those above and below 50.

For instance, although the majority of the 611 respondents were satisfied with the PAP Government’s performance – almost three-quarters were of the view that Singapore was heading in the right direction – some two-thirds of them supported the idea of having a stronger Opposition.

Of these, those in their 20s to 40s in particular were three-to-one in support of opposition parties, buttressing the popular perception that younger voters, which made up a quarter of all voters this year, played a significant role in the swing against the ruling party in the recent General Election (GE).

However, this did not translate proportionally to them wanting more seats for the Opposition in Parliament.

The survey also found that the older one got, the less likely they were likely to find an Opposition party credible.

An overwhelming majority of of Singaporeans also turn to the mainstream media for political news. Newspapers, followed by television, comprised 83 per cent of respondents’ first source of information.

Asked to rank the important issues in GE 2011, over two in five put cost of living and inflation on top of the list.

Healthcare (13%) and housing (12%) were the next most important.

In spite of its prominence in media coverage in the months leading to the elections, immigration was ranked as important by only 5 per cent of the respondents.

The telephone survey randomly selected registered Singaporean voters and was designed to mirror the electorate profile in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, and area of residence.