Oxford bests Cambridge among young people

William JordanUS Elections Editor
June 07, 2013, 2:00 PM GMT+0

Britons aged 18-24 are particularly likely to say Oxford is a better university than Cambridge

Earlier this week The Guardian released the most recent edition of its university league table, which ranks UK universities according to criteria like student-to-staff ratios and career prospects for students. Cambridge University came out on top – pushing rival institution, Oxford University, into second place for the third consecutive year.

YouGov research reveals that when asked whether Oxford or Cambridge is a “better university”, university-age Britons who have an opinion on the matter say Oxford is better 43% of the time, while just 28% say Cambridge is Oxbridge's better half. In contrast, the two academic powerhouses are virtually tied among voters aged over 60, with 24% going for Cambridge and 22% for Oxford.

Oxford's lead was narrower among the British public at large. Nearly three in ten (29%) of all Britons who know how they feel about it choose Oxford, compared to 21% who choose Cambridge. Half (50%), however, say neither is better.

Political preferences also play a small part. Supporters of each major party are more likely to choose Oxford – where all but one of Britain's post-war Prime Ministers who attended university studied – over Cambridge, with one exception – Lib Dem voters, who prefer Cambridge by 30% to 19%.

The rivalry between the Britain’s two oldest universities, which are sometimes known collectively as “Oxbridge”, has existed for centuries. Their competition in university leagues tables continues to be tight: while Cambridge won out in the Guardian’s list, the Times Good University Guide put Oxford in the top spot from 2011-2013. Rankings from The Times for students enrolling in 2014 have yet to be released.

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