This article picked by a teacher with suggested questions is part of the Financial Times free schools access programme. Details/registration here.

Read our full range of politics picks here.


  • AQA Component Elections and referendums: patterns of voting behaviour

  • Edexcel Component 1: 4.1: Voting behaviour and the media

Background: what you need to know

Both examination boards require you to know about the factors that influence voting behaviour. This article suggests that levels of education are becoming an increasingly important determinant of how voters choose between political parties.

Across the UK, the proportion of graduates is growing, and there is evidence of a correlation between degree holding and support for centre-left parties. This is partly because these voters are more socially liberal than older, less well-educated people.

At the same time, younger people — graduates and non-graduates alike — are disillusioned with the lack of economic opportunities for their generation. In the long term these factors are likely to work against the Conservatives at elections.

Click to read the article below and then answer the questions:

How education became the new faultline in British politics

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 1

  • ‘Social factors such as class, gender, age and education are the most important determinants of voting behaviour in the UK.’ Analyse and evaluate this statement. [25 marks]

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 1

  • Evaluate the view that social factors such as class, gender, age and education are the most important factors determining voting behaviour in the UK.

    You must consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way. [30 marks]

    TIP: For the importance of another social factor, gender, see this FT article, published last year: Why are women voters moving to the left?

Graham Goodlad, Portsmouth High School

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2024. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window) CommentsJump to comments section

Follow the topics in this article