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Greens lead by 2 in first Redbrick poll

The University of Birmingham from its West Gate entrance
The University of Birmingham from its West Gate entrance • Photograph: James Phillips

The Green Party took a small lead in the first of Redbrick’s General Election polls.

We’re no Lord Ashcroft and we didn’t ask YouGov to question hundreds of people but here at Redbrick we want to get the general idea of students on campus about the General Election. As such, we launched our General Election Hub and, with it, a poll asking students how they would vote if there was a General Election this week. We’re not going to claim this poll is perfect and we’re not sure how accurately it represents you, but it’s a nice indication.

After some initial attempts by some party supporters to unfairly influence the results, the poll has come back very close, with just 3 points between three parties.

In first place, reflecting recent professional polls, 31% of students have stated their preference for the Green Party. Recent polls by YouGov put the party neck and neck with Labour among 18-24-year olds, and this is therefore somewhat unsurprising. It has previously been commented, also, that this somewhat demonstrates a generational gap between young and old. The party has made serious gains this year and is now the third largest party in the UK based on membership, after a 100% increase in the last three months alone. The party claims that the majority of new members are young, and they have a youth branch, Young Greens, who also have a society on campus.

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In second place, with 29% of the vote, came Labour and in third, with 28%, came the Conservatives. As the major parties in British parliamentary politics, this does not come as a surprise. Both have active youth branches, Labour Students and Conservative Future respectively, and are long established in British politics. The closeness of the vote amongst students between these parties is almost reflective of national general election polls where there are just a few points between the two parties. Both Labour and the Conservative Party have student societies.

In fourth place, with just 5%, are the Liberal Democrats, who have suffered a massive loss of support from students following the decision to increase tuition fees whilst in coalition in 2010. Whilst 48% of students voted for the Liberal Democrats on election day, this support has massively dwindled. The party also has an active youth branch, Liberal Youth, and a society on campus.

Also on 5% but with one less vote, are UKIP. Although now considered a major party in British Politics, due to their rise in success in the last few years, their popularity does not seem to be represented in students. There is a youth branch of the party, Young Independence, but they do not seem to have a society on campus.

The remainder expressed they would vote for another party, which may be a party specifically operating in the nations, such as the SNP, Plaid Cymru or one of the numerous Northern Irish parties, or they said they don’t know or wouldn’t vote.

The poll was run from Sunday 1st February through to Friday 6th February and had 200 respondents exactly. It will be the first of our weekly polls in the run-up to the election and we will report back on how things change (or don’t) over the coming weeks.

Read more in General Election 2015