Student vote hangs on hunting, hate and faith

January 28, 2005

Passion for the environment, support for hunting and concern about getting a job are all issues that will influence the student vote at the general election, according to a poll for The Times Higher , writes Paul Hill.

While tuition fees, Iraq and concerns about the economy dominate students'

thinking, quirkier concerns, such as "biblical morals and Christian values", and "hatred of Tony Blair", could also help swing the vote.

Some students told Opinionpanel Research that they couldn't "see Michael Howard as the country's leader", while others had concerns about the environment and that the "UK behaves like a loyal dog to the US".

One third-year student predicted an election win for the Scottish National Party/Plaid Cymru.

Kim Howells, Higher Education Minister, said: "Students realise that under Labour they will have a better chance of getting a job because we have delivered the lowest unemployment for 29 years."

The poll suggests a high student turnout - on a ten-point scale, 62 per cent rated their chance of voting at between eight and ten.

David Rendel, the Liberal Democrat higher education spokesman, said: "We've always been behind in terms of the student vote until this election, but all the polls are now showing us ahead."

Chris Grayling, Tory higher education spokesman, said: "Students are clearly turning away from the Government. Our job is to explain why Conservatives are the best option."


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