Green party support is surging – but the media prefer to talk about Ukip

By Zoe Williams

The Greens’ successes go unrecorded by commentators who would rather have a few rogues to liven up things

Polling data hardly means a consistent thing from one party to another, does it? If you say you’re going to vote BNP, it’s like saying you’re going to set fire to a pub. You’d have to get as far as the front door with a can of petrol before anybody would believe you.

A stated intention to vote Green, on the other hand, doesn’t have the ring of merry threat or bravado; it has the ring of sober consideration. To test that theory, however, you would have to look at a result and compare it with a poll. This is made exceedingly difficult by the fact that the Greens are habitually called “other”, lumping them together with the BNP, along with the more like-minded but factually incorrectly named Animals Count (animals cannot count) and the properly barmy Christian People’s Alliance.

“Othering” actually has a sort-of specific meaning, in sociological terms, placing a person or a thing outside the scope of normality and acceptability. However, the meanings collide: when they put a political party in the “other” category, this “othering” is, by happenstance, the result.

Polls as a ranking tool are pretty boring. Maybe I’m being trivial and trying to turn psephology into Emmerdale, but I don’t just want to see who wins and who loses; I want to see who wins from whose losses. In 2009 Labour was down nearly 7 percentage points (anybody who thinks they’re unpopular now just has a very short memory), but those numbers weren’t showing up in support for the Tories or Ukip, still less the Lib Dems, who were themselves down 1.2 percentage points (and people still liked Nick Clegg back then. Imagine!). The Greens, though, had picked up 2.4 percentage points, which, since it increased their vote share from under 6% to over 8%, was pretty significant.

However, you would have had to wait until the weekend after polling day to find that out.

This time around, the Greens are polling higher than at any point since 1989. Their share went from 3% to 8%, in a poll whose results were interpreted, by every paper apart from the Evening Standard, as testament to the fact that voters hate everybody (to put that in Westminster terms, it’s a “war of the weak”). Imagine if Ukip’s poll ratings had nearly tripled what manner of political flurry we would be in then. Imagine if the Lib Dems went below the Greens, which they very nearly have (in this same poll, they were on 9%); in a YouGov poll last week asking about voting intentions for the European elections, the Lib Dems were two points behind the Greens, who reached 12%. Continue reading

ICM Polling: Green Vote Growing as Liberal Democrats Wither

GPLogoWorldGreenForWebThe Green Party is polling (1) at 10% ahead of the May 22 European Elections, putting it firmly in fourth place and three percentage points ahead of the ailing Liberal Democrats (7%).
The Greens have surged four points since ICM’s last poll and are within touching distance of meet their target of trebling their number of MEPs from two (Jean Lambert, London, and Keith Taylor, South-East) to six. Based on a national swing the latest poll would give the Greens 5 seats in England plus one in Scotland. The Lib Dems would have zero seats. Among 18-24 year-olds the Greens are the second most popular political party.
Natalie Bennett, Green Party Leader, said:
“The results of this poll chime with what I am hearing around the country. 
Former Lib Dem voters feel that the party no longer represents their values, let alone their views on tuition fees, nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons, and on curbing the influence of the banks and big business. 

“Former Labour voters are looking at our firm statements that the poor and disadvantaged must no longer be made to pay for the fraud and recklessness of the bankers. And traditional Tory voters are coming to us for our firm defence of the green belt and determination to rein in our still out of control financial sector.”
Penny Kemp, Head of Media on the Green Party Executive, said:
“If the Green Party as predicted push the Lib/Dems into fifth place, I will be asking Ofcom and the Broadcasters Liaison Group to review their recent policy and I will be arguing for a place at the top table.”
The polling results echo those released on May 2 by the Green Party. That polling, which was conducted by YouGov and commissioned by the Greens, had the Green Party on 8% and ahead of the Lib Dems in four of the nine English regions (the North-East, the North-West, Yorks and Humber and Eastern Region) with both parties polling on 11% in London.
Further information available here

‘What space for a women’s agenda in politics in 2014?’


An evening with Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett

Wednesday 16th April,  7.30 (tea/coffee) for 7.45 pm Friends’ Meeting House, Lancaster (next to Lancaster Rail station).

Since becoming leader of the Green Party in 2012, former Guardian journalist Natalie Bennett has spoken and listened to many women’s groups up and down the country on issues ranging from equal pay to female genital mutilation.

Come and hear her conclusions – and tell us your priorities. Everyone welcome at this informal but informative evening discussion.

Q: What do all these parties have in common: Tories, Lib Dems, Labour, Respect, UKIP, Scottish Nationalists, Socialist Party, Democratic Unionist Party, SLP, TUSC, & now ‘Left Unity’?

A: They all have a white, middle-aged, male leader!