A recent study has found that UK students are welcoming the forthcoming General Election, as they believe the current government does not pay enough attention to the views of young people.
The Student Room surveyed more than 1,000 students after Theresa May announced the snap election last month. The survey found that 72 per cent of respondents felt positive about the Prime Minister’s decision to hold an earlier election.
This seems to stem from the fact that many students are unhappy with the current administration. 80 per cent of those surveyed felt that the current government does not personally represent them.
The survey also found that the most popular party amongst students is the Labour party – 42 per cent said that they were planning on voting Labour. This is compared to 27 per cent who intend to vote for the Conservatives, and 16 per cent for the Liberal Democrats. This finding reflects similar results from the 2015 General Election, where 43 per cent of 18-24 year olds voted Labour, compared to the 27 per cent who voted Conservative.
With over a month to go until the election, surveys such as this reveal where politicians might be falling short in their campaign – and where they could improve in order to win over the youth vote.
The director of community at The Student Room was quoted by TimesHigherEducation as saying:
“This will help shape manifestos to match the genuine need of young people, bucking the trend that politicians don’t care about their opinions.”
Government figures show that more that 177,000 people under the age of 25 registered to vote in the week following May’s election announcement. Whether this translates into actual votes remains to be seen. The under-25 turnout is almost always outshone by older demographics. In 2015, the voter turnout of the over 65s was almost double that of the 18-24s.
Following a tumultuous political year, not least defined by Brexit, young people have more cause than ever to make their voices heard.
One Newcastle University Media said that the UK’s exit from the EU weighed heavily in her decision, as she intends to vote for pro-EU candidates who will “keep the Conservatives in line” during the Brexit negotiations.
Meanwhile, a Psychology student at the university told the Courier:
“In the wake of the EU Referendum, I feel that Theresa May is a better leader than Jeremy Corbyn, especially for getting through Brexit.”