Students: beer drinkers, penny-pinchers and takeaway lovers, but also one of the most under-registered groups on the electoral roll.
The student population is consistently one of the hardest to canvas, particularly at their term-time addresses. High mobility due to short-term private rent contracts, means that this demographic were often failed by the traditional household registration system.
On average, the registration rate for students across England, Wales and Scotland is only 68 per cent, with areas containing large concentrations of students experiencing larger than average decreases in the electorate.
There is a marked correlation in the ELL boroughs between high student population and smaller voter turnouts. This is particularly evident in Tower Hamlets, which has the largest student population of all ELL’s boroughs at 6.3 per cent and the lowest voter turnout at 61 per cent. In the Electoral Commission’s February 2015 report Tower Hamlets had the third largest decrease in additions to its register.
Despite these gloomy statistics students actually have more power than many other demographics to decide who will win the next election.
Students are able to register at both their home and term-time addresses. Although they may only vote once, this gives students the opportunity to choose where they cast their vote and the ability to cast it in a in constituency where it will make the most difference.
In Hampstead & Kilburn, where Labour lead by the smallest majority in Britain, the Conservatives only need a 0.04 per cent swing in order to gain power; in Warwickshire North, Labour need just a 0.06 per cent swing to win the election; and in Cambourne & Redruth, Liberal Democrats need a 0.1 per cent swing to win this year. Voting in one of these swing seats could make a bigger difference than voting in your university constituency.
Mapped out below are the thirty most marginal seats in Britain, the seats where your vote could have the most value. So, for all students in the ELL boroughs, if your home address is located in any of these constituencies think carefully about where you vote – your vote could make a difference.
Boundary map data courtesy of Philip Harrison, principalfish.co.uk.
For information on how the data behind this article was collected see out methodology.