Graduates and school leavers have different social identifies, social values and political priorities. They were on opposite sides of the EU referendum, and it was the realignment of school leavers behind the Conservative party that delivered Boris Johnson’s 2019 landslide.
Will such divides fade away now the agenda has returned to traditional economic arguments over public services and the cost of living? Or is the education divide now a settled feature of our political landscape? And, what does this all mean for British politics in the next general election and beyond? Does Labour need to bridge the education divide to win a majority? Can the Conservatives recover without winning back support from graduates? Is a new political heartland opening up for the Liberal Democrats in graduate-heavy seats?
Professor Rob Ford, Professor of Political Science, The University of Manchester and Senior Fellow, UK in a Changing Europe
John Rentoul, Chief Political Commentator, The Independent and SMF Policy Advisory Board member