The Slovenia Times

Youths becoming more right wing

Young people hanging out at a Ljubljana park. Photo: Boštjan Podlogar/STA

Public opinion polls have started detecting this trend recently, but now an in-depth study has provided further final confirmation: Slovenian youths are becoming increasingly conservative.

This follows from a new international youth study by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation from Germany and the Maribor Faculty of Arts from Slovenia, which was administered to over 600 young people in February and March and has detected a clear rightward shift in youths' political views.

The share of youths self-identifying as right more than doubled, to 24%, between 2018 and 2024, and the share of those who identify as far-right rose from 7% to 11%.

People on the right and far right are also more likely than those on the left to express an interest in politics.

On the other hand, the share of those who see themselves as left halved to 14%, and the share of those who say they are far left dropped from 13% to 6%.

Centrists also gained, however, going from 42% to 46%.

The previously existing asymmetrical inclination of the young towards left-wing political views has been almost entirely replaced by an asymmetrical inclination towards right-wing views in recent times, researchers noted.

"Our most significant finding is a marked rightward shift in young people's political self-perceptions and attitudes," said Miran Lavrič from the University of Maribor.

This general trend is accompanied by a considerable increase in nationalism and national pride.

But paradoxically, there was also increased opposition expressed against certain nationalistic positions, indicating an escalating ideological polarisation.

"For some key political stances, a notable and previously non-existent gender gap has emerged. Compared to girls, boys have generally become less tolerant and more chauvinistic," explained another researcher, Tibor Rutar.

In 2018 both male and female respondents ranked between 4.5 and 5 on a ten-point left-right scale. Now, men are in the 6-6.5 range and women around the 5.5 mark.

Men are also now considerably less supportive of homosexuality than women, their views having previously been largely aligned.

Another major finding is that youths' main political priorities and concerns have shifted from jobs and climate change to the quality of public services.

There is heightened emphasis on healthcare system importance and housing, as well as increased concern about immigration. "This likely narrows the gap between Slovenia and the EU in this regard," Lavrič added.

Youth studies by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, which is affiliated with the German Social Democratic Party, examine how young generations perceive their societies' development and their own future.

The latest research project was conducted across twelve SE European countries, including Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Romania, Slovenia, Greece, and Turkey.

The studies focus on individuals aged 14 to 29 with the aim of understanding their perspectives on key issues.


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