The student vote

YouGov have released a poll of university students. In terms of voting intention, they are, unsurprisingly, now strongly Labour – topline figures are CON 26%, LAB 42%, LDEM 15%. Full tables are here.

In YouGov’s tables there are also figures for the student vote back in May (presumably based upon what these panellists told YouGov back in May, or when they joined the panel), and this illustrates the swing against the Liberal Democrats amongst students – in May 2010 the Lib Dems had enjoyed a decisive lead amongst this cohort, with figures of CON 21%, LAB 24%, LDEM 45%.

The rest of the survey repeated a series of questions about tuition fees and the protests against them that YouGov previously asked to a nat rep survey for the Sunday Times. Most of the answers are exactly what you’d expect – 78% of students oppose the coalition’s plans on tuition fees, 80% think the Lib Dems are wrong to go back on their pre-election pledge.

85% of students are sympathetic to the protests against the tuition fees, including 27% who sympathised with the direct action against the Conservative party headquarters (this compares to 13% of the general public). 54% of students did still think that violent protests damaged the protesters cause.

Meanwhile, YouGov’s daily polling figures today are CON 40%, LAB 40%, LDEM 10%.


75 Responses to “The student vote”

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  1. Not perhaps that surprising, but dramatic nonetheless. I guess this is a return to the sort of figures we used to have. Interesting that the Conservatives too have gained votes amongst students, though clearly not as much as Labour – have some more right-wing LDs decided something like “well, at least you know where you are with the Tories”?

  2. I know we have have a long time to go until the next election, but I suspect we will be back to the situation in my youth when the Libs won about 6 seats and their MPs could fit in a London taxi.

  3. Barnaby Marder

    I was puzzled by the Lib Dem to Tory votes as well. It’s 5% as opposed to about 2-3% in the population at large. Thinking about it, I suspect that it could be because disproportionately many student seats are Lab-Lib Dem marginals (you could probably supply a better list than me), so many Tories in such places could have voted tactically.

    Anthony

    Sorry for bringing this poll up already in the previous thread. I didn’t realise you would post on it, with it being over a week old. (I seem to have been getting under your feet all evening).

  4. so more students would vote for an ‘other’ party than would vote Lib Dem. Would love to see how that 17% of other voters breaks up.

    I hope yougov did not just offer a generic ‘other’ option

  5. Please note May 2010 is voting intention, not ‘voted for’. I think YouGov did some post-election analysis which showed 50% of students didnt in the end, vote.

    Lest we forget at more than one point in May 2010 the Lib Dems were leading the polls – that isnt how things subsequently transpired when people went to vote.

  6. I also find it interesting that the Tories have picked up among the student vote (even if their share of the vote gain is far smaller than Labour’s). In a way though, it’s not that surprising.

    The coalition was a way for the Lib Dems to get into power and exact more concessions than they could ever hope to get. To those who love real politik, this was probably fine. But I think it disillusioned many students. That and the student vote tends to be pretty volatile as well, it’s easy to see big swings.

  7. I have another theory that comes to mind on seeing the Conservatives do better among the student vote. Some on here (I forget who) suggested that Nick Clegg, David Laws, and numerous other prominent Lib Dems would have become Tories when they were young had it not been for the social conservativism of the Tories. The Lib Dems were an alternative for them.

    Although there are probably a lot of social conservatives in the Conservative Party, David Cameron is not one of them. LGBT rights comes to mind. Of the 13 years of landmark acheivements for sexual orientation equality under Labour, Cameron has not only avoided any talk of rollbacks but seems to embrace equality (there are now more openly gay Tory MPs than openly gay Labour MPs, Cameron had a Pride reception at 10 Downing Street, Cameron has been supportive of outed cabinet ministers). Ironically, any talk of social issues (to the extent that they’re political issues in the UK) is handcuffed by the Lib Dems position as junior coalition partners.

    So let’s say, some far right wing Tory backbenchers wanted to make trouble for Cameron and they started discussing a reintroduction of Section 28 or some other discriminatory law, it wouldn’t pass (or even come close). Now had the Tories had won an outright majority in May, socially conservative policies would likely not have gained traction but it’s possible that issues would have been raised. However, any possibility of raising socially conservative policies is completely foreclosed by the Lib Dem presence as junior coalition partners. Ironically, this probably helps the Tories among students. Young fiscally conservative but socially liberal students who may have voted for the Lib Dems in May (out of fear of what a Tory government might be like) might now feel comfortable as Tories.

  8. @ Oliver
    so more students would vote for an ‘other’ party than would vote Lib Dem. Would love to see how that 17% of other voters breaks up.

    I hope yougov did not just offer a generic ‘other’ option
    Same. Here’s hoping it’s overwhelmingly Green.

    People are surprised about former Libs changing to the Tories, but it’s still not a great amount :
    60% to Labour
    23% to Other
    16% to Tories

  9. Students switching to Tory; that’ll be the ones who aren’t in favour of the protests & just want to get on with their studying.

    Given the fees don’t increase until 2012, won’t there be about 1/3rd of students who’ll have graduated by then?

    Dare I suggest, some students may be quite happy to see the drawbridge pulled up behind them. If fewer would-be students can afford a ‘proper degree from a proper university’, it will reduce competition for graduate jobs.

    Those self-interested students will, of course, vote Tory. I’m pleased it is only 5%, when approx. 33% are likely to ‘benefit’ indirectly from a future drop in student numbers. 8-)

  10. As a student I wasn’t surprised at this poll. As I support raising tuition fees and have got bored at the endless protests it is disappointing so many oppose fees increases and the ‘direct action’. But to some extent it’s irrelevant – by 2015 hardly any of the current students will be at University. There may be a backlash against Lib Dems in University towns – but how many seats do they hold because of students? Even this year they failed in places like both Oxford seats and in Durham.

  11. I think you will find Amber that many students realise that the only way to fund further education viably is to move to a greater emphisis on tuition fees and your assumption that they must be “self interested” if they are voting Conservative it typical of your ilke.
    You seem to forget it was Labour that introduced tuition fees in recognition that the then system was unsustainable.
    There seems to be a myth being portrayed that students are going to be asked for money up front which they are not. They will pay these notional fees back if and when they start earning the requisate salary , as has always existed with student fees.

  12. Utterly astonishing that students are not exempt from having concerns about the UK living beyond it’s means. What’s the world coming to?

  13. RiN
    Is it legal?
    Yes, but only because they are English (or Welsh or from N Ireland). You are allowed under EU law to discriminate within national borders but not against nationals of other EU states. If Scotland was indepenent, English students would have to be treated the same as Scottish (or Greek or Irish).
    commute
    I sometimes have to attend graduations and have noticed that a handfull of students with British names are listed as coming from third countries such as Romania

  14. RiN
    Of course Norwegians pay very high fees as do Nigerians, Chinese etc

  15. ‘NEIL A
    Utterly astonishing that students are not exempt from having concerns about the UK living beyond it’s means. What’s the world coming to?’

    Are you joking? Students are far more worried about how they can survive day to day, then they know they will start working life with a massive debt before they contemplate mortgages and you think they should then worry about the UK? get real personal hip pocket nerve is first by a long way.

    Student fees are wrong. If students are going to earn more (and many wont) then we have perfectly serviceable direct taxation system which should be used. Ad a couple of percentage points on to it. Those who earn heaps of money not having been to university should also pay the increased tax as their children will go to university. Or should we point out that people who do A level earn more than don’t so lets charge for A level… But Thatcher scared current politicians from direct taxation and we haven’t grown up to reject her silliness

    Fine, argue/ cut ‘useless’ courses, that’s a different game…

  16. It will be interesting to see how students vote when they are faced with the real Labour alternative i.e. paying a graduate tax year in year out after graduation.

    Labour has had a free ride on this one so far, but when the details come out about how much graduates will actually have to pay – comparing one system against another – it could be a different story.

  17. @Mike Potter

    I know we have have a long time to go until the next election, but I suspect we will be back to the situation in my youth when the Libs won about 6 seats and their MPs could fit in a London taxi.

    ———

    Bit harsh.

    A minibus? Now that I could agree with…

  18. @BARNABY MARDER
    As has happened in the past, I think you have firmly hit the nail on the head. Liberals, who are of the old fashioned variety, rather than quasi socialists, have said regarding the Tories, “if you can’t beat em join em”. The more numerous “bleeding heart” variety will of course take the same view of Labour. This is the LD problem.

  19. @ROLAND HAINES

    Liberals, who are of the old fashioned variety, rather than quasi socialists, have said regarding the Tories, “if you can’t beat em join em”. The more numerous “bleeding heart” variety will of course take the same view of Labour. This is the LD problem.

    ———

    Ah, Roland.

    Speaking as a One Nation Tory – under whom, I’d like to remind fellow Conservatives, Britain had it’s best ever period (namely the 1950’s) – your posts never fail to remind me why it is I no longer vote for the Blue party.

    When we, as a party, strove to build a better Britain for everyone, as we did in the 1950’s, we got it right and helped build a fine country to live in.

    Since 1979, we have done little but divide. And with talk like this, I can see how and why that goes on.

  20. Amber wrote
    Dare I suggest, some students may be quite happy to see the drawbridge pulled up behind them.

    You may and I agree. Socal Liberal had a take in the same vain.

    What’s the point of going to private school if you do not scoop the prizes in life (see 50% of Oxbridge students from private education, Nick Clegg, etc ).

  21. @NEIL A
    I agree, the inconvenience is, that I shall have to reconsider my opinion of ALL students. Perhaps they are not unwashed long haired drunken layabouts who only read pornography, the Daily Star and Karl Marx.

  22. Robert C

    “Labour has had a free ride on this one so far, but when the details come out about how much graduates will actually have to pay – comparing one system against another – it could be a different story.”

    They won’t be producing anything which can be compared for at least two years.

    They’re not daft.

    Students on the streets are indeed a free ride-EM said he “thought about” joining them-but “must have been doing something else”.

  23. @ CHRIS TODD
    In deserting the party you have certainly done the British people a service Chris. Have you noticed the benefits the alternative has brought to bear. Furthermore, the Tory period you doubtless consider an appalling time, the 80s, came about as a result of the Butskellism and gentle decline you remember so fondly. You may well deplore the cuts which now become necessary as a result of previous overspending and over borrowing. The world did not owe Britain a living in the 50s and 60s and it does not now.

  24. I wonder if that % i quoted for Oxbridge takes account of foreign students? Hmmm. Will look it up, as I hate to exaggerate (either way).

    The only locations where i think the student vote must have been decisive are Brighton and Norwich.

    Any others anyone?

  25. Same vain should be same vein. I had to look it up as all three possibilities (vane as well) seemed possible.

    The two seats I mentioned are potential three way ones. Labour being second. Will Con voters support Simon Wright and will they and LDs support Caroline Lucas just to thwart Labour?

  26. Howard:

    Manchester Gorton and Manchester Withington have fairly substantial student populations too. The MP for Withington in particular notably courts the student vote.

  27. [Snipped – please do not treat the comments forum as a “show and tell” for whatever news story you think reflects badly on parties other than the one you support. It is not conducive to non-partisan discussion – AW]

  28. Fair enough, AW. Thought this story might be of interest (perhaps to those not based in UK), and as it had been discussed to some extent on a previous thread.

  29. At the risk of being provocative, can I propose that students actually work at least a 40 hour week studying and attending lectures. This would probably enable the length of the course to be cut by at least 25%, maybe even 50% (saving a lot of fees). It would still also leave the weekends free to work in McDonalds or the local pub to fund your way through the course.
    I am totally in favour of tuition fees as I see no reason why those who do not go to university, should fund those who do. University is a privilege not a right. If students have the time to go on demonstrations other than at the weekend & during holidays, then something is fundamentally wrong with the way courses are organised. In my view the whole university thing is very inefficiently organised.

  30. Quincel

    Thanks, Gorton is safe Labour (Boundary reorganisation victim though?) but indeed your second, Withington, is marginal LD / Lab. There the Con vote is miserably low at 4000 odd but I suppose the same could happen there as could happen in Norwich.

    AV would do it for the LD. The question arises why DC is not supporting AV. An article on this appeared on PB and I can see that it could suit the DC plans very nicely indeed.

  31. The fact that the Tory support is virtually two thirds of the Labour support does suprise me. When I was of student age in the early/mid 60s, I am sure that the Labour support among students was higher. Perhaps the fact that I was a “different” kind of student, made politics stand out in sharper relief. Certainly my fellows at Sandhurst were 98% Tory, but every university student I ever met was a raving lefty, however if she was pretty enough, I could become very liberal.

  32. “The two seats I mentioned are potential three way ones. Labour being second. Will Con voters support Simon Wright and will they and LDs support Caroline Lucas just to thwart Labour?”

    I would have thought on the issue of tuition fees and higher education generally, the Green would probably be more attractive than Labour generally and the issue would cement Caroline Lucas’ position. They seem to be the only party who are unequivocally for Education for education’s sake and at least some students should be able to see through Labour’s double-think and double-talk on the issue – who introduced the fees in the first place, who commissioned the report whioch recommended raising them?

    All of which could make Norwich South a totally unpredictable contest. It would probably go back to Labour but any out of 4 parties could potentially win it.

  33. Hope the students keep protesting every week until the Lib Dems come back to their position for which they made pledges.

    It does parliament and coalition politics harm, if you end up with one party breaking the democratic mandate which they only won 7 months ago. The position of Cable is idiotic, in stating he is for a policy, but may not vote for it.

    Yes Labour broke a manifesto promise not to introduce tuition fees and that was not good either. But at the level they were introduced, it did help universities fund extra places.

    So far the government have not come forward with details of how the changes in funding will affect the number of university places. They have put this off until March of next year, which will give universites less than a year to plan for the number of places available, following the funding changes. This will cause a massive level of uncertainty in the minds of 6th form students, as to whether places will be available for their chosen course, in addition to what debt they may incur.

    This coalition government is rushing at making changes and this is doing no one any favours. The Lib Dems need to stand up for themselves, otherwise they risk getting nothing from being in government for the first time in 90 years and many years in the margins of politics from where they came.

  34. @Robert in France

    I was talking to an English and Drama graduate at the weekend who said he’d had about 6 hours of tutorials a week and spent 30 – 40 hours a week reading and writing essays. £9000 in fees equates to about £50 per taught hour so he could have paid for a private tutor, other than getting a degree certificate. Certainly with tutor groups of say 6 to 10 people, a “classroom and Library” degree could be offered at far less than the capped maximum. Could we start to get smaller colleges attracting lecturers to present high quality courses at more reasonable rates than universities?

  35. I agree with TonyoTim, the Lib dem Vote would probably plummet 10-12% in Norwich S With Labour and Greens both increaing 5/6% and tories flatlining
    provided Labour chose a reasonably centre left MP and not a new labour one.

  36. Others up to 17% – Green Party seems to be benefiting?

  37. I mean ‘candidate’ instead of MP.

    I am 22 but I was not naive, at the election it was obvious Clegg was rowing back on his promises before the Clegg surge but then when it came along he thought he was unstoppable and could get away with saying anything on VAT and tuition fees.

    Having said that I am aware Darling would have raised VAT to 19% had labour won the election.

  38. @R HUCKLE
    It is funding “more places” that has caused the problem in the first place. What balls to decide that 40 or 50% of young people should go to university. If the situation had been left alone whereby the top 20 or 25% go to university – state funded in normal economic times, all would be well. But of course we have to have social engineering trying to prove that half of all young people have the brainpower to benefit from university educations. They do not, and the end result is this stupid situation we find ourselves in. [snip]

  39. Roland

    The government are not arguing for less university places to be provided. In fact I remember them providing extra funds so that there are an increased number of places for 2011-2012.

    All three main parties are in favour of having as many people attending university as possible, although not necessarily all having a target percentage to aim for.

    My opinion that the goverment need to review the whole education process, to make sure students are maximising their chances at every stage. I am sure that there are thousands of teenagers going to uni, because of peer and parental pressure. Many will end up doing courses that will be of no real value to them.

    I did not attend university, choosing instead further education at technical college, obtaining employment at the end of the course. I could have gone to uni, but decided to postpone this and take professional qualifications instead which are equivalent to degree. Many employers support their workforce to obtain qualifications, as part of their continued education. Perhaps this is what the government should be encouraging. i.e. obtaining relevant professional qualifications while working, rather than take a degree which would be of less relevance to an employer.

  40. @R HUCKLE
    I agree with your last paragraph totally. In the bad old days, a DiP Tech in engineering draughtsmanship, would get you a job anywhere. Now, one hears people say, ooh he’s got a degree and his working in Tesco pushing trollys. Of course “the degree” is most likely a 2/2 in French Drama from Luton. Very valuable.

  41. @ROLAND HAYNES

    Common sense really. Well said

    Why do politicians have to interfere in everything with their social engineering, we know what’s best for you mentality? If you can achieve, you will. Take Lord Sugar and many others, as an example.

  42. Can I just throw something out there for a minute. It occurs to me that no current student will be a fee-paying student at the next election, and that under the new fee’s system, no one will have actually paid fee’s under the new system yet. In 2015 we will have
    had three years of students not paying fee’s, so almost 100% of English students will not have paid a penny. Sure, they’ll have the debt, but how badly will that affect their vote(my guess is not a whole lot, especially given the repayment system) Perhaps the student vote isn’t totally lost?

  43. Uk manufacturing grows most in 16 years!

    The UK’s manufacturing sector grew at its fastest rate for 16 years in November, a closely-watched survey suggests.

    The purchasing managers’ index (PMI) climbed to 58, compared with a revised rate of 55.4 in October, well ahead of analysts’ expectations.

    The figure was boosted by record growth in manufacturing jobs, said data firm Markit, which helps compile the survey.

    BBC Business News 1 dec 2010

    Still waiting for the double dip reds?

  44. @Amber, Howard (ages ago),

    “Dare I suggest, some students may be quite happy to see the drawbridge pulled up behind them.”

    As a student, I can say with confidence that this is the attitude I have witnessed amongst a number of my colleagues. “Perhaps it’ll cut down on the number of wasters who go to uni,” was one of the things I heard.

    But then, aren’t the Baby Boomers pulling up the drawbridge behind them in making my generation pay for what they got for free? Just a thought.

  45. Andy S wrote:
    But then, aren’t the Baby Boomers pulling up the drawbridge behind them in making my generation pay for what they got for free? Just a thought.

    Excellent thought. Many on here (including me) are in the 60s and just trying to make sure our cushty pensions are not in danger from paying for the young people’s education. In my case I actually got paid as well.

    Our convenient memory loss about how we got free education is typical. (I speak for myself R).

  46. Richard
    Well, they could still be patient as the data you quote are unaffected by any new government fiscal action as these have yet to occur.

    The Government hasn’t actually done anything yet.

  47. Richard

    Great news on PMI index.

    Exports “surging”-just what the doctor ordered.

    Manufacturers took on staff at their fastest rate since the survey began 18 years ago.

    So far so good.

    Re PMQs…..& PMIs

    EM was yet again on the trail of bad news next year.

    That is specifically 2011.

    He knows that if he winds people up on the pain of 2011 there are easy votes in it for him.

    He is focussing on 2011 with laser like concentration, because after that , his narrative slowly goes down the plughole ( hopefully)

    It’s a gamble which might come off for him , but it is looking increasingly desperate & gloomy.

  48. @COLIN
    A fellow called Spencer Dale, Chief Economist at the Bank of England has said today this horrid medicine IS working and he has ruled out any double dips.
    He sounds like someone who is likely to know a bit about the matter.

  49. Sorry gents but the facts are that the only fiscal tightening (yet) is that implemented by the previous government.

    Always willing to be corrected on facts of course.

    So if there are improvements in the economy they cannot be down to ’emergency budget’ proposals.

    Those have yet to be implemented. (where am I going wrong??)

  50. Roland

    Thanks.
    Yes- he ought to know something about it!

    Why EM went on the economy today, after that OBR report is puzzling.

    It looks like the guy has made his “Doomed-we are all Doomed” sandwich board, and is determined to wear it.

    2011 is going to be tough-but EM must know that it is a point on the road to 2015, not a destination.

    Seems to me when AJ called GO a reckless gambler in HoC the other day, he was facing the wrong way :-)

    We will know who’s the gambler in a couple of years or so.

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