19 May 2009
In a YouGov poll released on Monday 18 May, 34% of respondents said they would either definitely be voting Green or would consider voting Green. This is the highest percentage ever to indicate potential support for the Greens.
Interestingly, the largest group who would consider switching were LibDem voters. It's far more common for the Greens to attract former Labour voters, who were the second largest group considering switching. Also interesting was the fact that around one-fifth of those considering switching were Conservative voters - the group normally the least likely to switch to Green.
Potential Green surge?
With the expenses row in full flow, and UKIP considered unlikely to benefit from voters' anger at other parties' sleaze thanks to its own frequently-criticised record, the Greens are not ruling out a potential surge like that in 1989, when 2.2 million Britons voted Green in the European elections.
But even a much smaller swing from the big three could be enough to win new Green seats in several regions, as well as holding the party's existing seats in London and the South East.
Green support in general polls jumps from 6% to 11%
A general voter-intention poll this week for the Sun newspaper found that 6% were definitely intending to vote Green.
But in a poll commissioned by UKIP and published today, the Greens are showing on 11% - enough to win seats in several regions beyond the existing seats in London and South East.
The Greens have pointed out that they are often underestimated in opinion polls ahead of European elections. For example in 1989 pre-election polls were showing the Greens on 7-8%, but the actual Green vote turned out to be 15%.
Greens determined to deny BNP leader a parliamentary seat
In the North West the Green campaign includes an especially strong element geared to keeping BNP leader Nick Griffin out of the European Parliament. In the North West, the big three parties are expected to take seven seats - and the eighth will almost certainly go, as usual, to the highest-polling of the smaller parties. So if the Greens finish ahead of the BNP, the Greens will take the eighth seat and Nick Griffin's electoral ambitions will be thwarted.
Peter Cranie, top Green candidate in the North West, commented:
"This 34% is the best indication we've ever had that people would consider voting Green.
"And the other poll showing us at 11% is extremely encouraging, not least because the Greens have always been underestimated in polls before Euro-elections. In 1989 we were showing at 7-8% but we got 15%. And we only need about 8% in some regions to win seats
"We do expect that the current disenchantment with the big three parties will prompt more people to take a second look at the Greens. Our Euro-election broadcast has been very well received and we believe our million-jobs manifesto is going to strike a chord with a lot of people.
"When it comes down to it, we're the only party in this election that (a) isn't mired in sleaze and (b) is putting forward a positive vision."
He added: "There is still a lot of speculation about disillusioned Labour voters voting BNP as a protest. But I really can't see why left-of-centre voters would want to vote for the extremist far right.
"And it would be too ironic for UKIP to pick up votes off the back of other parties' sleaze."
Greens hit the mark with campaign themes
The poll also asked which issues the Green Party should focus on in its campaigning. The top two answers, both on 40%, were economy and environment/climate change - the two issues the Green Party had already selected to focus on for the local and European elections. The party's Euro-election manifesto was titled "It's the economy, stupid" - a tongue-in-cheek reference to US President's Bill Clinton's election-winning watchword and to the Greens' belief that only massive investment in green industries can tackle climate change.
1. The YouGov poll regarding voter intentions was commissioned by the Green Party and asked only about whether respondents would consider voting Green.
2. The exact question regarding campaign themes was: "Thinking about the next twelve months which three or four of the following areas do you think the Green Party should make its priorities for campaigning? [Please tick up to four options.]"
3. The YouGov poll surveyed 2,046 adults in Great Britain.