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Oxford students back Labour ahead of election

Oxford students are most likely to vote Labour according to Cherwell’s survey of students’ voting intentions for the General Election. The poll, which surveyed 1,071 Oxford student residents, revealed that 31.6 per cent of students plan to vote for the Labour party, while only 24.2 per cent are intending to back the Conservatives.

Labour support did vary across the two Oxford constituencies with only 25 per cent of Labour supporters planning to vote in Oxford West and Abingdon, compared to 31.4 per cent in Oxford East. Conversely, just 20.3 per cent of Conservative supporters plan to vote in Oxford East compared to 29 per cent in Oxford West and Abingdon, which could be owed to tactical voting on the part of both sets of supporters.

Labour MP Andrew Smith has held the seat in Oxford East since 1987 and Oxford West and Abingdon is considered most likely to be retained by Nicola Blackwood, who is representing the Conservative party.
Amongst the colleges with a majority supporting Labour, St Hilda’s, Pembroke, Mansfield, and Wadham all revealed a higher proportion of Labour voters than Balliol College — renowned previously for its support for the Labour Party.

In 14 colleges, the majority of students planned to vote Conservative, with St John’s, Christ Church, Somerville and Brasenose College revealing relatively large majorities. There was also strong university-wide support for the Green Party, for whom 15 per cent of students said they plan to vote.

Wadham College expressed the highest proportion of support for the Greens, where 28 per cent of students intend to vote for the party. 63 per cent of Wadham students said they plan to vote for either the Green or Labour parties.

Contrary to the NUS’ ‘Liar Liar’ campaign and controversy over tuition fees, the Liberal Democrats still received support above the national average, with 19 per cent of students in Oxford West and Abingdon saying they would vote Lib Dem, versus 11 per cent in Oxford East.

UKIP support, however, proved much lower than the national figure, with just 4.1 per cent of students saying they plan to vote for the party.
Students were most preoccupied with welfare policy, with 23.8 per cent declaring it the most important issue. This was followed by the NHS, which 16.6 per cent of students prioritised.

Although social welfare proved the main concern of Labour voters, those planning to vote Conservative placed most importance on government borrowing.

David Parton, the Publicity Officer for the Oxford University Labour Club, commented, “These results come following Labour’s successful performance in a recent Oxford Student poll of voting intention, and with policies such as cutting tuition fees to £6,000 a year, increasing the maintenance grant from £3,400 to £3,800 a year for students from families who pay basic rates of income tax and banning unpaid internships, Labour is showing that it is listening to the voices of students, who were so badly betrayed by not only the spinelessness of the Liberal Democrats, but also the callousness of the Tories.”

Syed Imam, Senior Co-Chair of the Oxford University Liberal Democrats commented, “It’s no surprise that, in one of the most marginal seats in this election, students are choosing to back Layla Moran, the Liberal Democrat candidate and local physics teacher, who is the only candidate who can defeat the Conservative incumbent.

“The Tory MP here has voted against same-sex marriage and in favour of limiting information for women considering abortion, and is being actively supported in this election by the pro-fox hunting lobby. In contrast, Layla has taken a firm stance against the Conservatives on each of these issues, against the pro-hunting lobbyists, and will, as MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, act as a better representative on issues such as these, which students feel very strongly about.”

OUCA did not respond to Cherwell’s request for comment.

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