Before the 2015 election, it was believed students would play an important part in the result. They were the target of Labour’s commitment to reduce fees, and the NUS’s ‘Liar Liar’ campaign was aimed at politicians who had broken promises made at the previous election. Meanwhile, a new electoral registration system put an extra hurdle in the way of students wanting to vote.
This new assessment, Students and the 2015 general election: Did they make a difference?, looks at what happened on election day. In seats where students were predicted (by HEPI, among others) to swing the result, they had less impact than predicted. This is because the pre-election polls were wrong. However, in a small number of other seats where Labour displaced the Conservatives with slim majorities, it is likely that students did make a difference.
The story of what happened should help inform discussions on the role students could play in the referendum on the UK’s place in the EU.