Photograph: 'LCF don't just vote, they vote sexy' SUARTS Flickr CC By-ND 2.0
Amongst Britain's students there is almost equal support for Labour and the Conservatives in the up-coming election, with 31% of the votes each. A quarter of students plan to vote for the Green Party, while 6% are backing Lib Dems and 1% UKIP.
These findings are based on the Student Politics 2015 survey which used face-to-face interviews with 13,039 final year students studying at 30 leading universities in the UK and was carried out last month.
Using the number of students voting for each party at each university, totalling them, and putting them into percentages, the Conservative and Labour party and shown to be neck and neck. The Green Party is not too fair behind them, while the Lib Dems are trailing, with more than a quarter of those surveyed stating that they wouldn't vote for the Libs Dems because they increased tuition fees:
However, the Conservatives are ahead in terms of being the leading party at more universities (the party with the highest percentage of votes at an individual university), with 14 insitutions compared to Labour's 11:
|University||Leading Party||University||Leading Party|
|Aston||Labour||King's College London||Labour|
|Bath||Conservative||London School of Economics||Conservative|
|Queen's University, Belfast||Sinn Féin||University College London||Labour|
|Imperial College London||Conservative||York||Labour|
The survey also looked into the students' views on politics. Over half of final year students think that Labour is the best party to manage the NHS and run Britain’s public services while two-fifths think the Conservatives are most likely to manage the economy successfully. When asked why they would choose to vote for their chosen party, a third noted that it was the same as their parents, while two fifths was intending to vote for the party with the most convincing leader.
However, two fifths of students also stated that voting and a specific party would make little difference to them personally, while over a fifth said that most of their friends think voting is a waste of time.
One in six final year students suggested that they’d consider standing to be an MP in the future, the most interest from the LSE, Nottingham, Imperial, Warwick, York, Oxford and Cambridge.
From the results, the survey was also able to describe the profiles of those voting for each party, and here is a snapshot of their findings:
|Newspaper most read||The Times||The Guardian||The Guardian||The Guardian||The Guardian|
|Universities with most support||Loughborough, Imperial, LSE, Durham, Bath, Exter||Liverpool, Lancaster, Oxford, Warwick, Manchester, Sheffield||LSE, Cambridge, St Andrews, Oxford, Exeter, Durham||Leeds, Bristol, Manchester, UCL, Edinburgh, Liverpool||Aston, Lancaster, Loughborough, Manchester, Liverpool, Bath|
|Applied for careers||Consulting, Marketing, Investment banking, Accountancy, Fiance, Law||Teaching, Media, Marketing, Charity sector, Research & development, Consulting||Marketing, Media, Consulting, Research & development, Charity sector, Teaching||Charity sector, Media, Teaching, Marketing,||Accountancy, Marketing, Investment banking, Teaching, Finance, Law|
|Expecting to start a graduate job||53%||42%||41%||33%||40%|
|Average expected starting salary||£25,500||£22,600||£22,700||£20,900||£24,200|
|Expected to earn at least £100,000 by age 30||24%||11%||12%||8%||21%|
|First in family to attend uni||33%||35%||23%||32%||42%|
What baffles me is that some students seem to have a slightly unrealistic view of their future. In the Conservative camp 24% expect to earn over £100,000, yet only 5% of people in the UK earn over £50,000 and 1% earn over £100,000. 24% is a figure that is wholly unrealistic, and some students are going to be disappointed along the way. Furthermore, as median pay in the UK is £23,000, many can't all expect to earn more than this when they come straight out of university and are at the bottom rung of the working ladder.
It would be interesting to follow up these students and see how their attitudes and voting intentions change over time, or whether they change at all, in the next election in four or five years' time.
Student voting intention has been found to be a good indicator of General Election results in general - in March 2010 the same survey showed that 37% of students were preparing to vote Conservative and 23% Lib Dem. Overall, the Conservatives won by 36% and Lib Dem got 23% of the vote.