Labour MP Candidate Daniel Zeichner campaigning in CambridgeLouis Ashworth

A Varsity poll of University members’ voting intentions has shown strong support for Labour among both students and staff.  

In the poll, which received 823 responses from authenticated University accounts, 57.4% of respondents declared an intention to vote for the Labour Party in tomorrow’s General Election. 

25.6% of respondents intend to vote for the Liberal Democrats, while 9.1% are set to back the Conservatives. Of the more than 800 people to respond to Varsity’s poll, only 5 plan to vote for the Brexit Party.

Just over half of respondents will be casting their ballots in Cambridge. The incumbent Labour candidate Daniel Zeichner, who has represented Cambridge in Parliament since 2015, looks set to overwhelmingly claim the support of University members: 62.8% of those respondents planning to vote in the Cambridge constituency will be backing him. 

In the 2017 General Election, Labour won 51.9% of the vote in Cambridge, giving former MP Daniel Zeichner a 22.6% majority. This represented a significant shift in comparison with the 2015 election, in which Zeichner defeated the incumbent Liberal Democrat candidate by just 599 votes. 

In 2017, the Liberal Democrats came in second, winning 29.3% of the vote in Cambridge. 

There has been speculation that the timing of the election – falling outside of full term – might impact the outcome in the Cambridge constituency, potentially prompting more students, who are disproportionately likely to favour Labour, to cast their ballot in their home constituencies.

Of the University members that responded to Varsity’s survey, 53.8% said that they plan to cast their ballot in Cambridge. Of these, 62.8% plan to vote Labour, and 26.4% plan to vote for the Liberal Democrats.  A 2017 Varsity poll of university members found that 61.5% of respondents who planned to cast their ballot in Cambridge intend to vote for Zeichner.

The survey saw significant disparities in voting intentions between colleges*, although all but four colleges favoured Labour.

For the third General Election in a row, as shown in similar Varsity polls in both 2015 and 2017, Downing was the most Conservative college: 15.6% of respondents affiliated with Downing declared an intention to vote Conservative in the upcoming General Election, compared with a University-wide average of 9.1%.

Downing also stood out as the college with the greatest proportion of Green Party supporters, at 9.4%

Fitzwilliam College, meanwhile, was the most strongly Labour-supporting college, with 85% of respondents expressing support for Jeremy Corbyn’s party. 

At eight colleges – Churchill, Clare, Fitzwilliam, Girton, King’s, Newnham, Trinity Hall and Wolfson –  more than 70% of respondents to Varsity’s poll plan to vote Labour.

Gonville & Caius, Magdalene and Jesus were the colleges most strongly in favour of the Liberal Democrats. 

Varsity’s poll revealed only a small disparity between the voting intentions of undergraduate and postgraduate students, with postgraduates slightly more likely to favour Labour, with 62.6% declaring their intention to vote for Jeremy Corbyn’s party, as compared with 57% of undergraduates. This disparity may be largely explained by the fact that undergraduates are less likely to be permanent residents of Cambridge, and a notable proportion favoured regional parties within their Home constituencies, such as the Scottish National Party (SNP) and Plaid Cymru. 


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Mountain View

Canvassing with Cambridge students

Reflecting national polling, female respondents more strongly favoured left-wing parties than male respondents. 68.4% of respondents who self-identified as female plan to vote Labour in the upcoming General Election, in comparison with 47.4% of those who self-identified as male. Moreover, 14.1% of male respondents plan to offer their support the Conservative party, compared with just 4.2% of female respondents.

The number of non-binary voters was not sufficiently large to allow us to draw any significant conclusions. 

Both in Cambridge, and across the country, this election will carry lasting consequences. However you plan to vote, don’t forget to head to your polling station tomorrow and have your say.

*Only the 24 colleges which saw more than 15 responses are included in these comparisons. Clare Hall, Darwin, Hughes Hall, Lucy Cavendish, Peterhouse, Sidney Sussex & St Edmund’s have therefore been excluded from this analysis. 

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