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New Research Shows How the Liberal Democrats Lost the Student Vote

Posted by Ross Jones-Morris

New research conducted by has shown that despite the Liberal Democrats faring terribly all round in last week's general election, they did especially badly in student areas.

Not only that but they may also have lost a substantial portion of the youth vote as a whole, with particularly youthful constituencies showing a massive average swing in votes since the 2010 election.

  • University woes: In the 83 constituencies containing a large university the Liberal Democrat vote swung -17.6%. In the 551 constituencies without a large university the vote only swung -15%.
  • Alienated youth: In constituencies with especially young populations the Lib Dems did even worse with their vote swinging a massive -19.5%.

University Woes

One of the most infamous moments of Nick Clegg's tenure as deputy prime minister was when he voted for the rise in student fees that he had vowed (pre-election) to fight against.

Not surprisingly this didn't sit favourably with students and four years on that decision seems to have come back to haunt him.

The new research published today shows that in the 83 constituencies that contain a large university[1] the Liberal Democrats lost 17.6% of their vote (compared to the election in 2010), whilst in the rest of the country they lost less an average of only 15%.

Whilst the data analysed takes into account the votes of all voters in any given constituency an increased loss of 2.6% across hundreds of thousands of student and voters is definitely significant.

The 10 university constituencies with the biggest fall in Lib Dem votes are as follows:

Crime Capitals

Alienated Youth

Whilst the Lib Dems used to be seen as anti-establishment, their involvement with the coalition has clearly lost them many younger voters, whether they are students or not. So many in fact, that whilst in the rest of their constituencies the Lib Dems lost around 15% of votes, in areas where over 20% of the population is aged 18-24 they lost almost 20% of their support.

Further than this in the 10 most youthful constituencies they lost 21.4% on average (a massive 43% more than in areas where the 18-24 population is under 20%):

Crime Capitals

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons.