Education key issue as by-election poll shows Labour and Tories neck-and-neck

26 June 2009 | last updated: 11 December 2015

Investing in education and training will be a key vote winner at the forthcoming Norwich North by-election, new research has revealed.

A poll commissioned by UCU shows that a third (34%) of people in the constituency would be more likely to vote for a party if committed to spending extra on education.
 
The survey, conducted by ICM for UCU, has Labour and the Conservatives neck-and-neck amongst voters with strong showings by the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party. With the election on a knife-edge this is a clear signal to all those standing that education must be at the top of their agenda.
 
Over three-quarters (77%) of constituents said that providing affordable access to education and training was important in helping Norwich and the country beat the recession, while  four-fifths (82%) called for every local person who met entry standards to be entitled to a free place at a local college or university.
 
The majority of would-be voters believe that education can play vital role in helping with law and order. Three-quarters (74%) said that giving young people affordable access to local education and training would reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in Norwich.
 
The key findings of the poll include:

  • Half of people aged 18-34 (48% of people aged 18-24 years old and 49% of those aged 25-34) said they would be more likely to vote for a party committed to an increase in spending on education
  • Nearly three-quarters of adults (73%) agreed that giving young people affordable access to local education and training would reduce crime and anti-social behavior
  • Four-fifths 82% of adults in the Norwich North constituency agreed that every local person who met entry standards should be entitled to a free place at a local college or university
  • One quarter (24%) percent of respondents said they trusted the Conservatives to invest most in education. One in five (20%) chose Labour, 10% opted for the Liberal Democrats, 4% for Green and 2% chose Ukip.
  • If there was an election tomorrow 34% of people would vote for the Conservatives, 30% for Labour, 15% for the Liberal Democrats, 14% for the Green Party, and 7% for others.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'This is a clear sign from the people of Norwich North that they want education to really count during this election. Investment in learning and training has never been more important and it is essential that all candidates listen to the electorate and put education at the top of their agendas.
 
'Far too many adults in Norwich North are without qualifications and it is essential that everyone is given access to free and affordable learning.  Schools, colleges and universities are the heartbeat of communities and provide vital services to residents of all ages and background. They improve social cohesion and reduce crime, but desperately need an increase in funding.
 
'Candidates should pay close attention to this poll. Skimping on investment is simply rationing the hope for many. Communities need properly-funded institutions and learning programmes if they are to flourish.'

notes
ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 504 adults aged 18+ by telephone on 19-21 June 2009. Interviews were conducted in the political constituency of Norwich North and the results have been weighted to the profile of all people in the constituency. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

Comments