A new YouGov poll suggests that just about half of voters support Labour’s new policy on fees, suggesting that it's a popular move.
The poll, for the Times Red Box survey, contained the following question:
“As you may have seen, the Labour party have proposed reducing university tuition fees in England and Wales from £9000 a year to £6000 a year. From what you have seen or heard about this policy, do you support or oppose it?”
A total of 49% of people said they supported it, well ahead of the 31% in opposition to the proposal. Another 20% of respondents said they did not know.
Of those intending to vote Labour a large 68% said they favoured the policy, whilst 17% would not be in favour of it.
Interestingly, despite pledging to abolish fees in the run up to the 2010 general election, key Liberal Democrat figures have said they are opposed to Labour's proposal. According to the Guardian, Ed Davey has described the policy as ‘stupid’ and Vince Cable has said that if his party entered into coalition with Labour then they would block the proposals. Despite this, 57% of voters intending to vote for the party are in favour of the idea, compared to the 26% against it.
Additionally, the pledge from Labour was well received by young voters, with 63% of 18-24 year olds in favour of the policy.
Meanwhile, according to the Scotsman, Scottish Labour, now led by Jim Murphy, is pledging to keep tuition fees free north of the border. Such a move highlights some differences between the two branches of the party, but also suggests that the party is trying to make things easier for students overall.
Labour’s pledge could be a vote winner, especially from younger voters who feel let down by the Liberal Democrats in 2010. However, the party could lose votes from older, rich people as they plan to pay for the fees cut by reducing tax relief on pensions for people earning over £150,000. Nonetheless, it could sway the youth vote in their favour.
YouGov surveyed 1866 GB adults between the 1st and 2nd of March. See the full results here.