Students are more right-wing than the general public on key economic matters like tax rates, nationalisation and redistribution

Clara Guibourg
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Tuition fees are one issue where students are reliably left-wing, though (Source: Getty)

Students may have a reputation for being a bunch of radical left-wing activists, but it turns out when it comes to economic issues, they’re actually more right-wing than the general public.

From anti-apartheid sit-ins to tuition fee protests, students sure do like to get involved in politics. But don’t be surprised if the next time they turn out en masse, it’s to protest against... raising taxes for the wealthy.

Polling institute Yougov analysed how your average student’s views on key issues compare to the public’s. In 37 of the 52 issues tracked, students lived up to the stereotype by being to the left of the public.

But for all core economic issues, the opposite applies.

Take taxes for the wealthy: Just 45 per cent of students say the top rate should be 50 per cent or more, which is far less than the 56 per cent of the general public that agree with this statement.

Similarly, students are less left-wing than the public on the topics of nationalisation, redistribution of wealth and wages.

Yougov’s Anna-Elizabeth Shakespeare explained:

In contrast to much received wisdom, a programme of nationalisation and higher taxes for the wealthy won't hold any extra sway over the student body, and may even be less well-received.

However, the issues that students care most about are also the ones where their views tend to differ most from the general public’s. And on these topics - from tuition fees to climate change - opinions are just as left-wing as you might expect.

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