Students vote could swing 2015 general election

Picture courtesy of

Di Bai (Political Correspondent), Young London News

…So long as they register to vote.

Despite students making up only 3% of the population, they could affect the next general election in about 10 seats, according to the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI).

“Our new analysis suggests students’ votes are swayed by student issues, particularly university funding.” 

HEPI director and co-author Nick Hillman said for students to make a difference, they “must register to vote, turn out to vote and live in marginal constituencies”.

But he warned the new system could limit the numbers registered.

This time Labour could be the main beneficiary, but many students are not registered to vote, says HEPI.

The report says a new system, brought in since the last general election, means voters have to be registered individually, instead of by household. It says that creates a problem because students change address frequently.

The report then poses the question of whether Labour would need to commit to a policy to lower fees to £6,000 to secure the student vote, adding: “The main beneficiaries, depending on their final manifesto position on student issues, look set to be the Labour Party.”

The shift from household electoral registration to the new system of Individual Electoral Registration affects students more than other groups because they are highly mobile, often live at two addresses during the year and are ill-served by the transitional arrangements to the new registration system.

Labour party is working with Youthsight, who specialise in youth polling, and has been tracking student constituencies over the last two years. They have identified eight key marginal university towns which have a big student vote that hasn’t been exercised before and, more importantly, ones that are target Labour seats.

Students swung towards the Liberal Democrats at the 2001, 2005 and 2010 elections but have since swung towards Labour and the Green Party, according to polling data and the 2014 European Parliament elections.

The British Election Study Internet Panel Survey shows a more recent collapse in Liberal Democrat support among students, from 44 per cent in 2010 to 13 per cent in 2014. Students are more likely to vote for the Labour Party than for any other party and Labour are more popular among students than among the rest of the population.


Have you registered to vote?
What do you care about in the election?

According to the interview I made in University of Westminster, most students haven’t registered to vote yet, and most of them care about the tuition fee and universities funding. But there are a lot of students who are not interested in politics and the coming election.

Here is the video of students’ opinions:


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