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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 May, 2005, 11:22 GMT 12:22 UK
First-timers 'unlikely to vote'
Tony Blair
Many thought the Labour party best able to tackle crime and the NHS
Less than a third of first-time voters say they will vote in the general election on Thursday, a poll suggests.

The poll for BBC Radio 1's Newsbeat indicated 31% of those sampled will cast their vote - less than the 38% in a similar poll at the last election.

Of those not voting, about a third said they cannot be bothered, while 30% said it was because they did not believe their vote would have an impact.

However if texting was allowed, six in 10 said they would be likely to vote.

Text vote

And if the ballot could be cast online the figure for "more likely to vote" was 56%.

There was less enthusiasm for postal voting with only 28% saying that would make them more likely to vote.

Even if celebrities were involved in politics many young voters would still be turned off, with 53% saying such involvement would make no difference to the likelihood of them voting.

The 1,078 first time voters were asked what would be the first thing they would do at Number Ten if they were prime minister for a day.

While 20% of those questioned would spend more on the NHS, 17% would pull British troops out of Iraq.

Fifteen per cent would raise the minimum wage and 14% would abolish university tuition fees.

Big issues

In terms of issues, Labour are thought best able to handle crime, the NHS, schools and universities, the poll suggested.

HAVE YOUR SAY
If you talk to young people they are interested in things that will affect them in the future
Chris, Berkshire, UK

The Conservatives lead on immigration and asylum issues, while the Liberal Democrats' best showing was on education - with 14%, joint second with the Conservatives.

Crime, tax and employment issues along with the NHS were seen as the biggest issues by young voters.

Asked which of the party leaders reminds them most of characters from the BBC show The Office, 39% said Tony Blair reminded them of David Brent, with Michael Howard being identified with Gareth and Charles Kennedy as the fat bloke in accounts.



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