|MORI breakdown||CON %||LAB %||LD %||OTH %||Â Turn- Out|
|65+||44||31||16||9||76%||Men by Age|
|Women by Age|
Why are turnout levels in student age groups so low?
The above table is based on data from Ipsos-MORI and shows the breakdown of voting at the general election based on age range and gender.
What’s clear is the relatively low levels of turn-out in the 18-24 segment – down to just 39% amongst young women. Given that this segment must include quite a high number of students there is a big issue with getting those studying at university out to vote.
One council ward I know of has a number of large scale student residences and my understanding is that turnout on May 6th was no higher than the mid-30s amongst those who were registered to vote there. Many more of the students are registered at their parents’ homes.
I’m looking at this now, obviously, because of the student fee issue and wonder whether the Lib Dems over-estimated potential support from this voting segment when they signed the pledges. Many, even possibly most, students are non-voters.
Having spent the final part of my career working for the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, York, the LSE and the OU I think that we are wrong to think of political importance of university seats solely in terms of their student populations.
These are massive bodies which have huge impacts on their local economies and it’s those whose livelihoods are linked to the institutions that are far more important.
And here higher fee levels might be seen as good news – a way of securing and increasing future income. Interestingly Lord Browne, the author of the report, has for years played a key part in the development of Cambridge – a university which has been a powerful advocate of higher fees.