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Are The Green Party on course to beat the Lib Dems in May’s elections? Part 3

That’s right – I am still not bored of writing about whether or not The Green Party will beat the Lib Dems in May’s elections!

On the 28th April I wrote an article essentially saying that The Green Party was on course to have a good night at the European Elections and that Lib Dems were going to get a kicking but, significantly, there was little polling to support The Green Party’s claim that they would beat the Lib Dems nationally.

I then followed this up with an article on 4th May when, for the first time, a poll was published that showed The Green Party ahead of the Liberal Democrats.

Any balanced commentator by this point would conclude that the figures were within a ‘margin of error’ and that it was next to impossible to call who will come out on top (between the Greens and Lib Dems).

This, in my mind, is still the only conclusion to reach (combined with the fact that Lib Dems will drop seats and Greens will gain).

But there is something to suggest that The Green Party might just slip past the Lib Dems. This is the trend of polls. While the Lib Dems have the numbers in their favour (more polls have shown them beating Greens than vice-versa) there is a clear recent trend of Greens climbing in the polls as the elections get closer while the Lib Dems seem to be dropping.

As Robert Lindsay on twitter pointed out (click to enlarge):

Green opinion polls
Interestingly, the same ICM/Guardian poll that puts The Green Party on 10% and Lib Dems on 7% is also the second in as many days that have put the Conservatives ahead of Labour (the other being this from Lord Ashcroft).

If you can conclude one thing from these polls for May’s elections it is this: voting under a PR system there is everything to play for regardless of the colour of your rosette.

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Are The Green Party on course to beat the Lib Dems in May’s elections?

Green campaign
‘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?

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