Will high student turnout deliver new Green seats?
Today is polling day in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. All three devolved nations see crucial elections for Greens. In Scotland, we are hoping to make significant gains, and possibly hold the balance of power. In Northern Ireland, Steve Agnew is looking to hold on to the one Green Assembly seat despite the man who won on on a largely personal vote having stood down. In Wales, Jake Griffthis is hoping to achieve the 7 or 8% needed to become the first Welsh Green AM. There’s also voting for Brighton and Norwich city councils, which both hope to be the first ever Green councils.
The latest polls show that all of these things could happen. But, tantalisingly, each campaign sits on a knife edge.
However, one interesting factor is the age breakdown of the vote. According to the (admittedly very small sample) in this YouGov poll in Scotland, 18-24 year olds are twice as likely to vote Green as 25-59 year olds are. Now, as I say, the sample is small. But this does fit a trend over the years – young people are much more likely to vote Green than older people.
And the sample is, of course, weighted for how likely people are believed to be to vote, based on whether they voted last time. Are students and young people significantly more likely to vote this time around than last time around (remember last time was only a year ago, so all but the 18 year olds were eligible).
It seems so to me.
So, if I have any bits of last minute advice for Greens across the country, it’s get onto campuses, and drag students to their polling stations. These are the people who are the most likely to vote Green – in Scotland, 14% will across the country (according to that small sample). A higher turnout at universities could be the thing that swings the day our way.