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How will students vote after the renegotiation of the UK’s membership of the European Union?

  • 20 February 2016

In 2015, HEPI and YouthSight polled students on their views about the UK’s place in the EU and the forthcoming referendum. We published the results in a paper originally issued last November.

We found overwhelming support among students for the UK to remain within the EU, although some of this support appeared soft. We included some questions on the impact of the Prime Minister’s renegotiation, which has been discussed by Cabinet this morning, and found:

  • Almost half of students (47%) said they would be more likely to vote to stay in the EU if David Cameron proved able to achieve ‘meaningful reforms’ during the renegotiation on the terms of the UK’s membership of the EU, while 29% said it would have no effect.
  • As only 13% of all full-time undergraduate students would vote in favour of the UK leaving the EU in a referendum held tomorrow and under half (42%) of this group expect to change their vote from leave to stay on the basis of a successful renegotiation by the Prime Minister, this suggests only 6% of students could swing to the ‘in’ side.
  • On the other hand, a renegotiation that was deemed to be unsuccessful could see 12% of the 70% of students who intended to vote for the UK to stay in the EU change sides – 8% of all students.

These issues will be discussed at a HEPI / HEA seminar in Parliament on Tuesday, 23rd February (invitation-only).


  1. Iain Cameron says:

    This blog and the email based on it are somewhat garbled – the report shows that 42% of the 13% who said the would vote to leave (I.e. 6% of the total) might change to vote in favour. You have also duplicated the bar charts.

    Poor quality checking from an organisation that produces some insightful reports.

    1. Thanks for flagging this. The text has now been clarified.

  2. Jim says:

    Apart from the top ‘total’ row, the rest of the bar chart makes no sense at all. Or is it just me?

    1. Click on the link to the full report and you will see more details, including the top line figures for how students would vote if there were a referendum ‘tomorrow’, which then explain the other calculations.

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