A study published by the University of Exeter has shown that students’ voting habits have changed considerably in recent years: even since 2015, a considerable shift has taken place, with students switching from voting for the Conservative candidate to the Labour one.
Nicholas Dickinson and Felix-Christopher von Nostitz, both doctoral researchers in Politics, found a study from 1979 which examined how students voted in the general election. They then asked the same questions to students after the 2017 general election in June.
The survey finds that the university’s reputation as a Conservative stronghold held true in 1979, and according to estimates, even in 2015. However, in 2017, 59.2% of students voted for Ben Bradshaw, the Labour MP for Exeter since 1997.
On a national level, the student vote tends heavily towards the Labour party, with 64% voting Labour, and only 19% voting Conservative.
While the authors cite several reasons for this shift, the largest one appears to be the EU referendum, with 84% of students on a national level voting Remain.
As they write in The Conversation, “While our survey only shows a small part of the national picture in terms student voting, it demonstrates clearly the damage done to the Conservative brand among students, even at institutions at which the party has traditionally done well”.