Students desert Lib Dems in their droves

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg speaking during the launch of the Party's manifesto
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg speaking during the launch of the Party's manifesto
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Student support for the Liberal Democrats has collapsed since the last General Election, largely as a result of the party’s U-turn on tuition fees, a poll shows.

Nearly half of student voters backed the Lib Dems at the 2010 election, with Nick Clegg promising not to increase fees for university-goers, while Labour and the Conservatives each gained about 22 per cent of votes.

However, a poll published by High Fliers Research shows students are around five times more likely to vote Labour or Tory at the forthcoming General Election than they are Liberal Democrat.

The two major parties are tied for support on the UK’s leading university campuses, each getting the nod from about 31 per cent of those asked.

In contrast, just six percent of the more than 13,000 final-year undergraduates questioned said they plan to back the Lib Dems on May 7 – a figure the authors of the survey suggested was linked to the party’s U-turn on tuition fees.

Students in the final year of a degree were the first to pay the higher, £9,000 maximum tuition fee introduced under the coalition Government in 2010 – months after the Lib Dems campaigned on a pledge to oppose any hike.

High Fliers director Martin Birchall said: “Over half would not vote Lib Dem because of the increase in university tuition fees. About two-thirds are those which were the first to pay the higher fees.”

The poll found a quarter of students planned to vote for the Green Party, while three per cent are backing the SNP and one per cent are in favour of Ukip.