Poll: UKIP makes student gains following televised debates

Student voters are increasingly turning to UKIP, according to The Student Room's (TSR's) general election poll.

Nigel Farage's party has boosted its share of the student vote from 9.2% to 11.0% in our poll in the last six weeks.

But the UK is set for a Labour government following 7 May's general election, if The Student Room's projected student voting pattern is followed by the rest of the UK population.

22,370 students have voted in our opinion poll as of the morning of 7 April.

Which party is getting the student vote?

Labour has a strong lead in our opinion poll, and it's been steadily improving its standing among students in the six weeks since our election survey began.

Party's share of student vote on TSR
  On 1 March On 6 April
Lab 33.7% 35.6%
Con 22.7% 22.3%
Green 20.7% 18.4%
UKIP 9.2% 11.0%
Lib 5.9% 5.2%
SNP 2.1% 3.1%

On 1 March, Ed Miliband's party had 33.7% of the student vote in our poll. By 6 April that had improved to 35.6%. If Labour can replicate that kind of support with the rest of the country, it would be likely to prove enough for Labour to form a majority government.

The parties that trail Labour have been trading TSR student support during the same period, but the notable winner at this stage is UKIP. While Natalie Bennett's Greens still have a strong share of the TSR vote, with 18.4%, that has dipped from 20.7% at the start of March. 

UKIP, by contrast, has achieved an increase of almost two percentage points to 11.0% in the past six weeks. 

However, Labour trails the SNP in Scotland, with Nicola Sturgeon's party holding 44.1% of votes from students there who expressed a party preference, while Labour has just 13.8%. That puts Ed Miliband's party only a single percentage point ahead of the Tories in Scotland in our poll. David Cameron's party has 12.7% of the TSR student vote there.

What effect did the televised debate have?

Last week's seven-party televised debate proved to be a bad night for the Conservatives in terms of the TSR student vote. 

Of the votes made in our survey on 1 April (the day before the debates) 27.8% were for the Tories. But their share of the vote on 3 April, the day after the debates, had dropped to 24.2%. Labour's share was about the same (36.3% vs 36.6%) meaning the smaller parties all made notable gains. 

All of the data in this article is taken from The Student Room's ongoing general election survey. Only data where students have expressed a preference is shown here. This preferential data does not include those voters who plan not to vote in the actual election or who plan to spoil their ballot.

Of the 22,370 students who have voted in our survey, 3% intend to make a conscious decision not to vote, while 2% plan to spoil their ballot paper.

You can explore the data more thoroughly, including results for specific UK regions, in our election survey results page

Student daily votes before/after 2 April TV debate
  Votes on 1 April Votes on 2 April Votes on 3 April
Lab 36.3% 39.1% 36.6%
Con 27.8% 22.0% 24.2%
Green 13.1% 15.4% 16.2%
UKIP 11.4% 12.4% 13.3%
Lib 4.6% 5.0% 6.3%
SNP 4.1% 2.8% 3.5%

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