Youth vote key part of general election

Daily Echo: David Cameron meets Southampton University students David Cameron meets Southampton University students

TENS of thousands of youngsters across Hampshire will head to the polls for the first time on Thursday and they could prove to be the decisive factor in our election races.

While fewer than 40 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds eligible to vote did so in 2005 or 2001, they represent thousands of potential electors for each of the candidates. And given that some Hampshire MPs won majorities in the hundreds last time they could be crucial.

There are 41,500 students in Southampton – almost one in six of the population – and many are registered to vote in the city’s three constituencies: Itchen, Test and Romsey and Romsey and Southampton North.

Election chiefs have reported an increase in voter registration and the Electoral Commission reckons those expressing an interest are disproportionately youngsters.

A poll conducted by Endsleigh and the National Union of Students found 75 percent were expected to vote in this general election.

Southampton University Students’ Union President Steve O’Reilly said: “There is a popular perception that students do not care about the election but this year students are really engaging with it.

“We have been running a campaign to get students voting by putting up posters and having t-shirts with voting slogans on them.

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“We also had our own hustings featuring the local candidates. We feared people would not show up but we ended up with a packed lecture theatre.”

Southampton Solent Student’s Union has also been working hard to encourage voting throughout the campus.

Vice president of communications Adam Parker reckons it’s been very successful.

He said: “Students here are worried about the major issues as there has been a lot in the press about cuts.

“They are also concerned with the general perception of students and there is a feeling that the Government needs to do something to appease students.

“They feel abandoned at the moment as tuition fees keep increasing and it makes it harder for lots of young people to go to university.

We need to make sure students know the Government works for them.”

He added: “We recently had an event where we invited students from various local universities such as Southampton and Winchester where we had talks and demonstrations and then a debate with the main party candidates from the Southampton Itchen ward. It was a great success.”

But while more students are considering using their vote, they still face the conundrum of whether to vote at home or where they are studying.

Mr Parker, 22, said: “The first-years often decide to vote at home because they are not used to the area and its issues but older students and postgrads often vote here because they develop more of a sense of community the longer they live here.”

With the recent inclusion of Southampton University halls of residence Glen Eyre and Bencraft Court in the Romsey and Southampton North constituency, there is a chance the student vote could have a large impact in the tight contest.

Mr O’Reilly, 22, said: “I really hope students make an impact in the Romsey election and I think they will do.

“There has definitely been an increase in student support for the vote and I think that will show.”

Comments (5)

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4:42pm Mon 3 May 10

melsm57 says...

I know that the youth of today are supposed to be poor spellers - but do we have to pander to the stereotype - who was asleep at the proof-reading wheel?
I know that the youth of today are supposed to be poor spellers - but do we have to pander to the stereotype - who was asleep at the proof-reading wheel? melsm57

4:54pm Mon 3 May 10

Adrian Smith says...

I recently overheard the following:-

A young woman was about to finish her first year of university. Like so many others her age, she considered herself to be a Liberal Democrat, and was very much in favour of the redistribution of wealth. She was deeply ashamed that her father was a rather staunch Tory, a feeling she openly expressed. Based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the occasional chat with a professor, she felt that her father had for years harboured an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his.

One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich and the addition of more government benefit programmes. The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the truth and she indicated so to her father.

He responded by asking how she was doing at university. Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she was heading for a first and let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn’t even have time for a boyfriend, and didn’t really have many university friends because she spent all her time studying.

Her father listened and then asked, “How is your friend Jane doing?” She replied, “Jane is barely getting by. All she takes are easy classes, she never studies, and she barely is a two-two. She is so popular on campus, university for her is a blast. She’s always invited to all the parties, and lots of times she doesn’t even show up for classes because she’s too hung over.”

Her wise father asked his daughter, “Why don’t you go to the professor’s office and ask then to deduct points off of your passes and give it to your friend. That way you will both have a two-one degree and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of the scores.”

The daughter, visibly shocked by her father’s suggestion, angrily fired back, “That wouldn’t be fair. I have worked really hard for my grades! I’ve invested a lot of time and a lot of hard work! Jane has done next to nothing towards her degree. She played while I’ve worked my arse off!”

The father slowly smiled and said gently, “Welcome to the Tory party.”
I recently overheard the following:- A young woman was about to finish her first year of university. Like so many others her age, she considered herself to be a Liberal Democrat, and was very much in favour of the redistribution of wealth. She was deeply ashamed that her father was a rather staunch Tory, a feeling she openly expressed. Based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the occasional chat with a professor, she felt that her father had for years harboured an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his. One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich and the addition of more government benefit programmes. The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the truth and she indicated so to her father. He responded by asking how she was doing at university. Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she was heading for a first and let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn’t even have time for a boyfriend, and didn’t really have many university friends because she spent all her time studying. Her father listened and then asked, “How is your friend Jane doing?” She replied, “Jane is barely getting by. All she takes are easy classes, she never studies, and she barely is a two-two. She is so popular on campus, university for her is a blast. She’s always invited to all the parties, and lots of times she doesn’t even show up for classes because she’s too hung over.” Her wise father asked his daughter, “Why don’t you go to the professor’s office and ask then to deduct points off of your passes and give it to your friend. That way you will both have a two-one degree and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of the scores.” The daughter, visibly shocked by her father’s suggestion, angrily fired back, “That wouldn’t be fair. I have worked really hard for my grades! I’ve invested a lot of time and a lot of hard work! Jane has done next to nothing towards her degree. She played while I’ve worked my arse off!” The father slowly smiled and said gently, “Welcome to the Tory party.” Adrian Smith

5:45pm Mon 3 May 10

allsaintsnocurves says...

sorry there's a spelling mistake there...Labour's spelt L a b o u r...there is no gap anymore between them and the tories...that's why they will be hitting those earning £20,000 the hardest. They introduced tuition fees for students so those studying now come out with even more debt than before...it's laughable when some people think the parties are so black and white...tories are x and labour is y...it's not like that at all anymore. The fact is Labour has failed this country and should be voted out...that is true.
sorry there's a spelling mistake there...Labour's spelt L a b o u r...there is no gap anymore between them and the tories...that's why they will be hitting those earning £20,000 the hardest. They introduced tuition fees for students so those studying now come out with even more debt than before...it's laughable when some people think the parties are so black and white...tories are x and labour is y...it's not like that at all anymore. The fact is Labour has failed this country and should be voted out...that is true. allsaintsnocurves

7:38pm Mon 3 May 10

Lone Ranger says...

I like to take and read most of the Sunday papers for the scandal and the serious.
.
It was interesting to read Peter Hitchin the well known Tory commentator and Daily and Sunday Fail columnist who said and i quote............" I beg and plead with you not to fall for the shimmering, greasy, cynical fraud which is the Cameron project. You will hate yourself for it is you do". This was also pinpointed, as you would expect by the Mirror
.
In addition the TV debate has been about personalities and not policy and Cameron has allegedly won by 2to1 against Brown........however the polls conducted by BBC Radio shows that Brown wins by 3to1. Thats the problem with TV and airbrushing, you dont exactly get what it says on the tin.
.
This race is not yet over and i cant see Cameron wearing that crown that he craves for
I like to take and read most of the Sunday papers for the scandal and the serious. . It was interesting to read Peter Hitchin the well known Tory commentator and Daily and Sunday Fail columnist who said and i quote............" I beg and plead with you not to fall for the shimmering, greasy, cynical fraud which is the Cameron project. You will hate yourself for it is you do". This was also pinpointed, as you would expect by the Mirror . In addition the TV debate has been about personalities and not policy and Cameron has allegedly won by 2to1 against Brown........however the polls conducted by BBC Radio shows that Brown wins by 3to1. Thats the problem with TV and airbrushing, you dont exactly get what it says on the tin. . This race is not yet over and i cant see Cameron wearing that crown that he craves for Lone Ranger

8:07pm Mon 3 May 10

Chipster says...

Who will they know who to vote for, most if not all won't be able to read or write thanks to Brown/Balir and Balls! :o)
Who will they know who to vote for, most if not all won't be able to read or write thanks to Brown/Balir and Balls! :o) Chipster

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