Third of students undecided on how they will vote at next General Election

Third of students undecided on how they will vote at next General Election
  • NUS survey finds 73% of students do not think politicians value young people’s views
  • 89% of students are registered to vote and 87% intend to vote
  • Cost of living is students’ number one concern heading into the election

Almost a third of UK students have not yet decided which political party they will vote for at the next General Election.

A National Union of Student (NUS) survey of more than 5,000 students also found that almost three-quarters of students do not think politicians value to views of young people.

But in a sign that young people are preparing to make their voice heard at the next national poll, the survey also found that almost 90% of students were registered to vote.

87% said they intended to vote at the election, while 8% were unsure on whether they would cast a ballot, and just 5% said they did not intend to vote.

The survey also canvassed the issues that matter the most to students approaching the next election. 89% said the cost of living was extremely or very important, with 88% and 85% saying the same for the NHS and health respectively.

Education, housing, mental health, student funding, equalities, the environment, and job opportunities were also listed as extremely or very important by at least 70% of respondents, highlighting the range of issues students and young people face.

73% of students said politicians did not value the views of young people, while more than a third of students who do not intend to vote said it was because politicians do not keep their promises, or that political parties do not represent them.

With voters being required to show ID for the first time at a General Election at the next poll, 20% of students said they were unaware of what counts as valid ID.

Asked to list forms of ID they possessed, 3% of students did not have valid voter ID, but 19% said the new measures would make it harder for them to vote. These tended to be students from underrepresented and marginalised backgrounds.  

The findings come as students from across the UK come together in Blackpool for the final NUS National Conference before the next General Election.

Commenting, NUS Vice President for Further Education, Bernie Savage, said:

“The results of this survey send a clear message to politicians: students are ready to turn up at the next election, but they are desperate for politicians to offer them more.

“That 9 in 10 students are registered is really encouraging and suggests students will have a huge impact on the outcome of the next poll.

“There are more than 4.5 million students and apprentices in our universities and colleges – we’re about 10% of the voting population of the UK. If we turn up at the ballot box students will have a huge impact on the future of the country.

“Politicians and political parties should pay attention and listen to the concerns of students and young people, who represent all of our futures.”

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