General Election Student Attitudes Survey: The Results

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With the recent General Election being dubbed ‘once in a generation’, Wessex Scene released a survey exploring the attitudes, intentions and wider political opinions of University of Southampton students. A total of 670 students participated in the survey, and we explored a variety of issues including what party they’d vote for, the most important policies and whether or not 16-year-olds should vote amongst other things. Here, we break down the thoughts and feelings of our very own student body. 

Our first question was: ‘Who do you plan on voting for in this election’?

Overall, it was closer than we expected.

Whilst a large 41.5% of students noted that they were voting for Labour, the difference between Liberal Democrat and Conservative voters were quite slim.

24.5% of students said they were voting for the Liberal Democrats, whilst 22.4% of students reported that they planned on voting for the Conservatives.

Our second question was ‘Where do you plan on voting in the election?’

With 65.22% of students opting to vote at their Southampton address, it is clear that this is the favoured option. In comparison, 30.4% of Southampton students chose to vote in their home address.

Furthermore, only 20% of Southampton students opted to do a postal vote, whilst a whopping 77.3% chose to vote in person. 2.7% were undecided.

We then asked respondents a couple of questions that are hotly debated right now.

The first was whether the voting age should be lowered to 16:

This was incredibly close: 44.5% said that the voting age should be lowered to 16, whilst 40.3% said that it shouldn’t be. 15.2% remained undecided.

The second was whether EU citizens should have the right to vote:

Surprisingly, the majority answer was ‘no’, with 42.8% of respondents stating that they are against EU citizens voting. Meanwhile, 33.6% of respondents said that were in favour of EU citizens voting, whilst 23.6% remained undecided.

Our final and the arguably most interesting result arose from the question: ‘From the list below, please choose THREE policy areas that would most likely influence your vote for a party’:

Students had 14 policy areas to choose from, which ranged from Brexit to international relations. However, with 5 policy areas winning by a landslide, it’s clear that University of Southampton students are especially influenced by a few select issues. So, the top 5 policy issues that most influenced Southampton student voters are:

  1. Brexit: 63.1%
  2. Climate Change/Green Issues: 56.1%
  3. Health & Social Care: 51%
  4. Economy and Taxation: 37.6%
  5. Education: 29.2%

With a lot of people blaming Brexit for the Conservatives’ landslide victory in the Thursday General Election, the fact that Brexit is the priority for most (63.1%) University of Southampton students surveyed should be a surprise for no one.

Furthermore, with Greta Thunberg recently being named Time Magazine’s ‘Person of the Year’ and climate strikes happening at our very own campus, the fact that Climate Change/Green Issues was only 7% behind definitely says a lot about the importance the student demographic places on the environment.

Over half of those surveyed (51%) also saw Health & Social Care as a priority, which is arguably influenced not only by rumours that the NHS on the table for US trade deals, but also for the fact that the University runs their own medical and nursing degree programmes at the Southampton General Hospital campus.

Finally, with tuition fees, graduate debt and maintenance loans being the daily reality for the vast majority of Southampton students, their concerns for Economy & Taxation (37.6%) and Education (29.2%) are undoubtedly at the forefront of their minds. Some students are still wounded by the infamous backtracking of the Liberal Democrats in 2010 to raise tuition fees rather than abolish them, whilst others argue that it is completely fair to have a tuition fees system where we pay back our loans over time and in proportion to what we earn.

The most fascinating part of the survey, however, was where we gave students the free reign to provide any thoughts, feelings and comments they had about the General Election. Students from all walks of life and all over the political spectrum provided comments about the Election, and a selection of these have been reproduced in quotes throughout this article.

More articles in General Election 2019
  1. They Just Don’t Get It: The General Election Wasn’t About Leavers and Remainers
  2. Southampton Itchen: A Highly Contested Seat
  3. Interview: Stephen Galton: Conservative Candidate, Southampton Test
  4. Interview: Craig Fletcher, Liberal Democrat Candidate, Romsey And Southampton North
  5. How Can We Trust You?: Problems Of A Student Voter
  6. The Liberal Democrat Manifesto Simplified
  7. Jeremy Corbyn Signs Southampton UCU Petition
  8. Southampton Hustings: All You Need to Know
  9. Conservative Manifesto 2019: A Summary
  10. General Election 2019: Southampton & Winchester’s Constituencies
  11. Labour Manifesto 2019 – We Went Through It So You Don’t Have To
  12. Reasons (Not) to Vote
  13. SUSU Hustings: Southampton Test – Liveblog
  14. SUSU Hustings: Romsey and Southampton North – Liveblog
  15. Key Dates for Upcoming General Election 2019
  16. Wessex Scene Launches General Election 2019 Survey
  17. Southampton Debating Union General Election Student Debate: Liveblog
  18. Johnson vs Corbyn: BBC General Election Debate Liveblog
  19. SUSU Hustings: Southampton Itchen – Liveblog
  20. UK General Election To Occur On The 12th Of December
  21. Johnson vs Corbyn: ITV General Election Debate 2019 Liveblog
  22. Over 75 University of Southampton Students Turned Away From Polling Stations
  23. General Election 2019 Results – All-Nighter Liveblog
  24. General Election Student Attitudes Survey: The Results
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Wessex Scene Editor // meme queen // fan of chocolate digestives // @colombochar on Twitter.

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