New political research on how students are going to vote in the general election reveals nearly a third intend to back Labour - with the same amount opting for the Conservatives.
A mere 1% are UKIP supporters, while 25% are supporting the Green Party, and just 6% backing the Liberal Democrats.
The Conservatives rank as the most popular party at 14 of the 30 leading universities featured in the research. Support is greatest at Loughborough, Imperial College London, the London School of Economics, Durham, Bath and Exeter.
Labour, meanwhile, is the leading party at 11 universities, enjoying the lion's share of the vote at Liverpool, Lancaster, Oxford, Warwick, Manchester and Sheffield.
The Greens are the most popular choice at Leeds and Edinburgh, with the Scottish National Party leading at Strathclyde and Glasgow, and Sinn Féin the top party at Queen's University Belfast.Read More:
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The Student Politics 2015 study, which is based on face to face interviews with 13,039 final year students in March 2015, also found almost a sixth of potential student voters remain undecided about who to support - or indeed whether they should vote int he election at all.
More than half of those who took part in the survey, by High Fliers Research, urged the next government to prioritise reducing the deficit. A third said they'll follow their parent's voting habits, while two fifths said they intended to vote for the party with the most convincing leader.
The same number said they thought the Conservatives are most likely to manage the
economy successfully, with more than half of final year students believing Labour is the best party to manage the NHS. More than half of all finalists questioned said they wouldn’t vote for the Liberal Democrats because they increased university tuition fees.
The research also laid bare student voters' profiles:
- Those intending to vote Conservative are most likely to have attended a private fee-paying school before starting their degree, are the most confident about finding a graduate job after university, and plan to work in management consulting, investment banking, finance or marketing. They also have the highest salary expectations.
- Students supporting Labour are largely from state schools or colleges and plan to work in areas like teaching, the media and the charity or voluntary sector after university. On average, they expect to earn around £3,000 a year less in their first graduate job, compared with Conservative supporters.
The results of the survey are not to be ignored; the same survey in 2010 showed 37% of students were preparing to vote Conservative and 23% Lib Dem. In the General Election that followed, the national vote for the Conservative party was 36%. 23% voted Lib Dem.
Managing director of High Fliers Research, Martin Birchall said the research confirmed first-time voters at the UK's top universities were set to vote for Labour and the Conservatives in almost equal numbers.
"There has been a huge surge in support for the Green Party on campus, taking them to within just a few percentage points of the two leading parties and an unprecedented share of the student vote."