Students have fallen out of love with the Green party, after a dramatic slump in support for their leader Natalie Bennett, a new poll shows.
On the day the party launches its Youth Manifesto, a survey reveals only 15 per cent of people at university now say they plan to vote to vote Green, down from 28 per cent in February.
After a series of faltering media performances by Ms Bennett, the proportion of students who dislike her has doubled since September to 24 per cent.
A new survey of students reveals a dramatic fall in support for the Green party, down to 15 per cent from 28 per cent in February
Since September, the proportion of students who dislike Green leader Natalie Bennett has doubled to 24 per cent, although Ukip's Nigel Farage remains the most unpopular
There was a time when the Lib Dems could bank on the support of students, but Nick Clegg reneging on his promise to scrap tuition fees saw his supporters desert him in their droves.
Labour has been the main beneficiary, with 35 per cent now saying they will vote for Ed Miliband, although this has fallen from 46 per cent in September 2013, according to YouthSight.
Support for the Greens rose steadily over two years, and peaked at 28 per cent in February.
But since then it has dropped sharply to only 15 per cent, meaning they have now been overtaken by the Conservatives who are on 25 per cent. YouthSight interviews around 1,000 undergraduates across the UK for its surveys.
Ms Bennett's profile has soared in recent months, buoyed by rising poll ratings and Green party membership in England passing 60,000 for the first time.
But she has struggled in media performances, including a radio interview when she suffered a 'brain fade' while discussing housing policy and a TV grilling in which she said it should not be a criminal offence to join extremist groups like ISIS or Al Qaeda.
She has also failed to make an impact in the TV leaders' debates, which have been dominated by the SNP's Nicola Sturgeon and Ukip's Nigel Farage.
Ms Bennett's profile has soared in recent months, buoyed by rising poll ratings and Green party membership in England passing 60,000 for the first time but she has been stung by poor media performances
In September, 12 per cent of students said they disliked Ms Bennett but this month the figure has leapt to 24 per cent.
Over the same period David Cameron and Nick Clegg have seen falls in their levels of dislike, while Ed Miliband remains on 28 per cent.
Ben Marks, managing director of YouthSight said: 'Our recent waves of polling data have charted the Green Party's rise amongst students, steadily climbing past the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives.
'However as the election approaches the Green bubble, if not quite burst, seems at least to be deflating.
'This latest wave sees the Greens fall 13 points, from 28 per cent to 15 per cent, losing second place for the first time this year.
'It appears that the Green Party are struggling to compete with the more established parties now that election campaigning has begun in earnest. This is also potentially evidence of a 'protest vote' ebbing away.'
The Green party today launched their Youth Manifesto with a pledge to invest an extra £1.1billion in youth services, creating 2,000 new Young People's Centres.
As the party launched its Youth Manifesto today, there were questions about Ms Bennett's leadership after it emerged her boyfriend had written bizarre blogs about rape, kidnap and murder
But deputy leader Amelia Womack faced questions about Ms Bennett's leadership after it emerged her boyfriend had written bizarre blogs about rape, kidnap and murder.
Jim Jepps used a blog called The Daily Maybe to defend 'rape fantasies', describe paedophiles as 'complex human beings' and question why teachers who have relationships with pupils are put on the sex offenders register.
The couple met five years ago when Ms Bennett contacted him to correct something he had written about her.
However, the Green party stresses they do not 'want to be associated' with his internet rants.
Speaking at the launch of the party's youth manifesto in Kentish Town, north London, Ms Womack said: 'Jim isn't anything to do with the Green Party and he isn't a member.
'But obviously ... obviously there is a lot of, kind of ... He hasn't put himself in the public profile, it is Natalie whose put herself into the public eye and so it is ... basically it must be really hard to have her public life, sorry her private life, brought into the public like this.'
Asked if she thought the reports would damage the party's image or reputation, she said: 'Well, I think it's very clear that Jim isn't part of the party and that Natalie is our spokesperson and these aren't opinions that are held by Natalie and they're certainly not opinions that are held by the Green Party and opinions that are condemned by the Green Party - but it is Natalie who is our spokesperson.'