‘The Green Party is on track to beat the Lib Dems in May’s European Parliament elections’. That is the message being put out by the party today as they launch their European election campaign.
Although they have, to put it kindly, stretched the polling evidence (most polls still suggest Lib Dems will pip the Greens but not by much) there is real hope of The Green Party tripling the number of MEPs as the Liberal Democrats haemorrhage their 2009 vote share (they are polling around 9% – down from 2009’s 13.7%).
Interestingly even the one polling that The Green Party quote to suggest they are on track to beat the Lib Dems nationally has a headline figures suggesting the Lib Dems will beat The Green Party. To justify the claim of ‘being on course’ to beat the Lib Dems, the Greens use the figures from those saying they are likely to vote in May (see page 2).
This said, I am still expecting significant Green gains and Lib Dems losses come May’s elections.
The Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett, commented to the BBC today that the party needs a swing of just 1.6% to secure an additional 4 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs).
While the national polling is putting the Greens on a comparable vote share as 2009 (roughly 8%) they do have certain regional advantages (collapse of Lib Dems and BNP in specific regions play into their favour).
In light of this it is also looking increasingly likely that The Green Party will make gains in the East of England and the North West (I have written detailed voting breakdowns for the regions here and here).
In both regions, where I predicted a Green gains, I have also predicted Lib Dem losses.
Assuming that the electorate return The Green Party’s 2 current MEPs (for London and the South East) this will see them double their number of MEPs.
In addition there are regions such as the South West where in 2009 the Greens secured 9.3% of the vote (more than their national average and beating Labour) but just missed out on securing a MEP. It would take a small increase in vote share to secure their first MEP in regions such as the South West.
It would be a disaster though for the Lib Dems if this Green gain came at the expense of their one current MEP (the party secured 17% of the vote in 2009). In line with the national picture though it is still the Conservatives and their coalition partners the Liberal Democrats that have the most to lose!
In the regions such as the South West it will be an extremely tight race.
Whatever you do though come May, make sure you are registered to vote.
There are only 24 days to go….you have to decide, which party do you want representing you in the European Parliament?