Can students save Jeremy Corbyn? Voter registration surges among pro-Labour demographic

Ian Silvera
Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn's popularity among young people could pay off for Labour as voter registration for students has surged, according to research released on Thursday 4 May.

A survey from the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) and YouthSight, of more than 1,000 full-time undergraduate students, found that 55% of respondents would vote for Labour and just 18% for the Conservatives.

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"This time, students have registered to vote in large numbers but they are less likely than the electorate as a whole to back the Conservatives. An overall majority of students who have made up their mind support Jeremy Corbyn," said HEPI director Nick Hillman.

"But it is not a forgone conclusion that this will win Labour extra MPs on 8 June. This is partly because students want more information, partly because their vote could be more dispersed than usual and partly because many students are willing to vote tactically."

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A separate poll from student network UNiDAYS found that 78% of respondents plan to head to ballot box on 8 June. The study discovered that most students plan on voting for Labour (34%), closely followed by ''undecided'' voters (32%) with the Tories (17%) taking third place.

But analyst Matt Singh, founder of Number Crunch Politics, urged caution over the surveys. "Is good news for [Labour] if it's accurate, though these are only poll-based estimates, so should be taken in that context," he told IBTimes UK.

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"And students are particularly hard to poll because of their ages. Also bear in mind that this should already be factored in to polling of all adults."

Anthony Wells, director of YouGov's political and social opinion polling, shared Singh's concerns. "The hardest thing to poll is turnout and likelihood to vote," he told IBTimes UK. "One of the reasons that polls got it wrong in 2015 was that you had too many people who would go out and vote and not enough people who would stay at home. Specifically, it was a problem with young people.

"My base level is always extreme scepticism of any poll suggesting there's really high turnout among young people, I know that's where polls suffer."

The latest national opinion poll from YouGov, of more than 2,000 voters between 2 and 3 May, gave the Conservatives a 19 point lead over Labour (48% versus 29%).

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