Over the past week, I have interviewed 130 Students at Manchester Metropolitan University to get their political views. I asked the interviewees several different questions. For starters, my first question was: "Are you going to vote at the UK General Election next year?" If they said No, I then straight on moved to a second question: "Why have you decided that you are not going to vote?" If they answered yes to my first question, I then moved on to ask two further questions: "Which political party will you be voting for next year?" and "What is the single biggest issue affecting you as a young person?" The results are quite startling. I am going to be using a series of pie charts to illustrate the results of my polling.
First of all, the intentions to vote:
65% of people said they would probably vote at the 2015 General Election,whilst 35% said they would not vote at all. This is a much higher proportion of Students saying they would vote than has previously been found by pollsters, but the reason for this can be found in the next graph of voting intentions, which includes undecided voters.
As you can see, a significant proportion of people said that they were undecided. My guess would be that many of these are probably the kind of voter that would only turn up if he/she was pushed very hard to turn up, or had been enthused and invigorated by a particular party. As you can see, the Labour Party is clearly doing very well, as are the Green Party, whilst the Conservatives, UKIP, and Lib Dems fare pretty badly. Here is a graph of voting intentions with undecideds excluded, which gives a far more accuratte picture:
So as you can see, the Labour Party has a massive lead here, whilst the Green Party also does very well, much better than how it fares amongst the general population. If Labour want to win the 2015 General Election, they must make sure that the Student Vote turns up and votes for them in large numbers, as they are a very strong demographic for the Labour Party.
On to issues. When asked to name a specific issue, here were the results:
So, as you can see, although a significant % (14%) said "Dont know" when they were asked to name an issue, this is proof that students are far from apolitical when it comes to thinking about things in terms of specific issues, and not party politics. Here is one final pie chart, and it is of responses to the final question that was put to those who were not going to vote, about why they were not going to vote:
As can be seen here, a significant % (22%) said they would not vote because they did not know enough about the issues or political parties involved. Politicians and parties must look to re-engage these people with politics, as they are not apolitical because of apathy, but rather because of a simple lack of knowledge.