I have been tracking the YouthSight regular polling of students with great interest. They are the only firm to have run a consistent poll of students over a long period of time which makes their data extremely valuable.
Now in their final poll of students, their research confirms that Labour is set to win the support of students with the Conservatives coming in second place – 8 points behind. I wrote about a huge spike in Green support amongst students before Christmas, which then fell away dramatically this year. Now it appears they have recovered a bit – but they are still 13 points behind Labour and 5 points behind the Conservatives.
According to the poll, the share of party preference for the Conservatives has been creeping up since the end of last year, suggesting a closer than anticipated contest.
The previous round of polling came just after a series of poor media performances by the Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett, which likely explains the dramatic fall. But some of this ground has now been made up ahead of the election.
The Liberal Democrats, who were the clear choice for students at the last election, remain in fourth place with just 7% of the vote. Immediately prior to the 2010 general election, the Liberal Democrats were polling at 50% amongst students. Their virtual wipeout in their support amongst students is likely down to their unpopular policy in government of raising tuition fees, which they had promised students in 2010 that they would not do. The SNP and UKIP and fifth and sixth choice respectively amongst students.
Some good news for everyone which is that 75% of students are likely to vote in the General Election (rising from 69% at the start of April), bucking the youth trend.