Even with tuition fees, Lib Dems more popular amongst younger voters

Tim Farron

A new YouGov poll of 100,000 GB adults indicates that despite the Liberal Democrats' tuition fees U-turn, support for them amongst younger voters is higher.

The poll indicates the following:

  • For those in each of the age groups above 40 years of age, 7% of voters put a cross next to Nick Clegg’s party on May 7th.
  • For those aged 30-39, 8% of respondents voted Liberal Democrat.
  • And for those aged 18-29, 9% of respondents voted Liberal Democrat.

Of course there is a margin of error in this poll, as with all polls, but firstly this poll was conducted with 100,000 people rather than usual one or two thousand meaning more accuracy. And secondly, what is more important is that one might expect that Liberal Democrat support would have been significantly lower amongst younger groups. The fact that support on May 7th for the party amongst younger voters was even similar to support from older voters - let alone above - shows something quite interesting.

Yes, the Liberal Democrats have lost massive chunks of their support. The party was reduced to an abysmal eight MPs, resulting in a leadership battle between just two candidates. Nonetheless, the fact that they are performing relatively better with younger voters shows that the party are still hanging on.

Many pundits have already written off the party as irrelevant in the future of British politics, but the party has a core vote, one that is committed to the party despite the tuition fees incident and “getting into bed with the Tories”. This along with their relative strength among younger voters shows that, whilst the party is on a political time-out, the party can be - relatively - optimistic about their future.

Some other interesting points from the poll:

  • 51% of respondents with incomes over £70k voted Conservative. For the main four parties income was key with clear income effects. As income rises the poll suggests that voters were more likely to vote Conservative or (albeit marginally) Lib Dem. The opposite was true for Labour and UKIP. 17% of respondents earning less than £20k per year voted UKIP.
  • Unsurprisingly perhaps the poll suggests that 69% of Telegraph readers will have voted Conservative and 67% of Mirror readers will have voted Labour.

See the full results of the mass poll here.


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