Siân Berry Green Party leader

The UK’s Green Parties are entering 2021 riding high in the polls. A new poll suggests that if a general election were held tomorrow, the Greens would receive 6.9 per cent of the vote. I f repeated in a real election, that would be nearly double the best result for the UK’s Green Parties in their history .

The poll – conducted by Focaldata – also suggested that the public are increasingly turning against the Tories. It puts the party on 35.6 per cent of the vote, behind Labour on 37.7 per cent of the vote.

The poll comes ahead of a abnormally large batch of elections in May, with voters set to elect members of the Welsh and Scottish Parliaments, as well as an unprecedented number of councillors, the London Assembly and Mayors across the country after 2020’s local elections were postponed. Greens are optimistic of strong results after 2019 saw the Green Party of England and Wales achieve its best ever local election results.

Speaking on the poll’s findings, Green Party of England and Wales co-leader Sian Berry said it showed voters were looking for a “fresh start”. She told Bright Green:

Greens are going up in the polls because people are looking for a fresh start and are ready to choose something better. We’re the only party calling for structural change in this era of crisis, and the alarm bells are ringing louder than ever, from Covid-19 to the climate emergency.

This strong polling comes a few months ahead of a huge slate of elections for us, and these numbers suggest that we could have another record breaking year of putting Greens into power. We are ready, and millions of people up and down the country are ready for change too.

How many seats for the Greens?

Focaldata’s poll used the multilevel regression with poststratification (MRP) method to make seat projections based on voting intention. MRP methods take geographical and demographic data, applying them to individual constituencies to predict how voters in those seats might behave. In the 2017 general election, YouGov accurately predicted a hung parliament using the MRP method. Meanwhile, other polls were suggesting a Tory majority.

Focaldata’s MRP projections suggest the Tories could be on track to lose a massive 81 seats. Among the seats Focaldata are projecting the Tories will lose is Uxbridge and Ruislip, where prime minister Boris Johnson is currently the MP.

The projections have the Greens on more than 10 per cent of the vote in 12 constituencies. These include Caroline Lucas’ seat of Brighton Pavillion, and constituencies where the Greens have previously performed well, such as the Isle of Wight, Bury St Edmunds and Bristol West.

But despite the significant support for the Greens in the poll, Focaldata are projecting this would see just one Green MP elected. That would mean that in spite of receiving 6.9 per cent of the vote, Greens would make up just 0.15 percent of MPs.

This has led Greens to renew their criticism of the UK’s electoral system. Scottish Green Party co-leader Lorna Slater hit out at the system’s “absurdity”. She told Bright Green:

The absurdity of the first past the post system is laid bare for all to see in this poll, but our opponents aren’t going to change a system that suits their interests. So it’s up to each of the Green parties across the UK to continue to build roots in communities, be constructive and challenging in the democratic institutions we are represented in, and push governments and councils beyond their comfort zones to deliver the climate action and social change that is so urgently required.

Focaldata’s poll also suggests that the Liberal Democrats would be left with just two MPs.

PS. We hope you enjoyed this article. Bright Green has got big plans for the future to publish many more articles like this. You can help make that happen. Please donate to Bright Green now.

Image credit: Rosie Rawle