Poland's young voters are turning to the right
Young people in Poland disproportionately vote for right-wing parties. This shift is not just a temporary trend — the country's increasingly patriotic youth are longing for more conservative values.
It was an unusual sight when Poland celebrated 100 years of independence in November: Young people were marching through Warsaw, wrapped in red and white flags, singing the national anthem. They were lured into the streets by patriotism. They represent conservative values and vote for right-wing parties.
In Poland, the young generation's shift to the right is neither a temporary trend nor an expression of protest. It represents a new self-image that has grown with the politics of recent years. Young Poles long for post-material values such as the church, tradition and security.
This shift made its mark for the first time in the 2015 parliamentary elections. Two-thirds of voters between 18 and 29 supported parties to the right of center. The national-conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, which today governs Poland, received 27 percent of their votes. A further 21 percent went to the new right-wing populist movement Kukiz'15. The regional elections in October confirmed this pattern. Again, PiS won the most votes in this age group and Kukiz'15 was also able to count on their continuing support.
"In the past three years, young Poles have turned even more towards conservative values," said social psychologist Marta Majchrzak, who co-authored a study published in November by the commercial research institute IQS in which scientists interviewed childless Poles between the ages of 16 and 29. "They trust authorities, are dreaming of marriage, and are proud to be Polish citizens," she explained.
The study classified only 9 percent of respondents as ((("cosmopolitan"))) and ((("open to being different.")))
The young generation wants a regulated economic system precisely because the economic situation has improved in recent years. "Young Poles compare Poland's secure situation with the disorder in the world," said Majchrzak. According to the IQS study, Poland's youth view their country as a safe exclave that protects them from the world's uncertainties. Three out of four respondents said they were against accepting refugees. Almost one-third said they would give up personal freedoms for more law and order.