Is education a bigger election issue than in 2017?

As the general election campaign gets closer to its end, polls reveal that more people are highlighting education as a key vote decider

election 2019

The proportion of people who see education as a key issue in the forthcoming election is growing week-by-week, latest polls reveal.

An Ipsos MORI  poll this week shows 28 per cent of people now see education as an issue that would help decide their vote – up from 27 per cent last week and 24 per cent the week before.

Separate MORI findings show that concern over education issues previously peaked at 26 per cent during the last election in 2017, when around 750,000 people were said to have changed their vote based on school funding cuts.

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Ipsos MORI points out that the two data sets were collected using “slightly different questions” (see graphs below).

The question being asked by Ipsos-Mori this month is “Looking ahead to the General Election, which, if any, issues do you think will be very important to you in helping you decide which party to vote for?”

The question being asked in the past was: “What do you see as the most/ other important issues facing Britain today?”

Responses to the second question show a long-term decline in the proportion of people naming education as one of the biggest issues facing Britain (see graph, below), but there are no figures available for this month.

However, the more detailed recent findings show that, despite a succession of school funding pledges, the public seems to be growing more worried – not less – about education as the election campaign goes on.

This chimes with results of a NEU teaching union survey published earlier today showing that education is one of the biggest issues in the general election, and its importance is rising among parents.

A source close to the Labour shadow cabinet said it was “not unexpected” that education was increasing in prominence. He said: “This justifes the school cuts campaign which we’ve been running with the unions.”

Last month, a source close to Gavin Williamson claimed school funding was no longer a key issue in the forthcoming election after the party pledged an extra £7.1 billion for schools over the next three years.

But today the source told Tes that Labour plans to abolish university tuition fees may have affected polling.

He said Labour’s pledge of an extra £10.5 billion for schools, along with their higher levels of public spending (than the Tories)  were seen as “not credible” by voters on the doorstep.


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Dave Speck

Dave Speck is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @Specktator100

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