The majority of students would back a vote on the final Brexit deal, as some 70 per cent believe they will be worse off after leaving the EU, a new poll shows.

Support among young voters for a new referendum has surged from 58 per cent in February 2017 to 67 per cent this month, according to a survey of undergraduates conducted by Youthsight, the UK’s largest youth research group.

The new poll found that seven out of 10 students think their prospects will change for the worse after Brexit, compared to 13 per cent who think they will be better off on leaving the EU.

It comes as The Independent launched its Final Say campaign to call for a public vote on the Brexit deal, which attracted more than 200,000 supporters in the first 24 hours.

The ongoing turmoil over Theresa May’s Brexit approach has left 77 per cent of students of the view the government is doing a bad job with the negotiations.

Support for MPs determining the final deal has also fallen from 25 per cent in February 2017 to 17 per cent this month, implying that young people are increasingly losing faith in those in parliament’s ability to deliver a positive outcome.  

Brexit will affect the decision of 60 per cent of students likely to vote in a future general election, the survey shows, while half of those would be willing to vote tactically in the future in order to achieve their preferred Brexit outcome.

The findings will heap pressure on Jeremy Corbyn’s party over its Brexit stance, as nearly eight out of 10 Labour-supporting students said they would be more likely to vote for a party that opposes leaving the EU.

Younger voters helped to boost Labour in the polls during last year’s snap election, leaving the Tories scrambling to improve their offer to young people.

Eloise Todd, chief executive of the pro-EU Best for Britain campaign, said: “The message is clear – young people want a people’s vote on the final Brexit deal. But more than that what this polling shows is that students in places like Canterbury, who helped Jeremy Corbyn win those seats and confound his critics, expect him to oppose Brexit.

“These young people are worried about the future and expect the Labour Party to do its job and oppose this shambolic government.

“This polling by YouthSight shows that Labour need to move their position. If they don’t, they face the threat of losing these voters in campuses up and down the country to a more anti-Brexit party.”

Josephine Hansom, YouthSight research director, said: “Students comprise the next generation of business leaders, teachers, doctors and politicians. Today’s students will begin leading the country in a relatively small number of years. 

“Yet they vehemently reject Brexit: a policy at the heart of our relationship with the rest of the world, signalling how we think of ourselves as a nation. In generational terms Brexit is the most divisive policy we’ve ever witnessed.

“And according to our data, opposition to it among students is only growing.”

:: Fieldwork ran from 13 July to 16 July. Each YouthSight Student Omnibus is based on at least 1,000 complete interviews with full-time undergraduates at publicly funded higher education institutions in the UK. Quotas are set for course year, gender and university type


The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.

Sign our petition here

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