Monday, 21 May 2012

UK Voters Attracted to Small Parties

The Independent on Sunday reports on a ComRes opinion poll which indicates potential support for small parties in Britain is on the rise. Although the report highlights the possible rise in support for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and a rise in Euroscepticism amongst the British public, with the resultant difficulties this could cause David Cameron and the Conservative party, it also looks just as favourable to other small parties.

One third of people who voted Conservative at the last general election now say they have now switched or are ready to switch to voting UKIP. With the current problems in the Eurozone, it is no great surprise that Euroscepticism is gaining ground and so too UKIP with its xenophobic stance on all things European. Indeed, I think UKIP would have won at least one seat on the London Assembly had they not for some reason changed their name on the ballot paper to ‘First Choice for London’.

But the report goes on to say:

‘The ComRes/IoS poll reveals deep dissatisfaction with the mainstream parties, with 37 per cent of their supporters seriously considering switching to smaller parties. Among all voters polled, 13 per cent are pondering backing Ukip, with the same proportion poised to vote Green. Four per cent are considering supporting the BNP, and 3 per cent could vote for George Galloway's Respect party. Only 38 per cent are not considering changing their allegiance.’

‘Among Labour voters, the disaffected are most likely to be looking to the Green Party (19 per cent), Ukip (11 per cent) or the Lib Dems (10 per cent). Of Lib Dem supporters, 28 per cent are considering switching to the Greens, 27 per cent to the Conservatives, 21 per cent to Labour and 14 per cent to Ukip.’

All of which means that for the Green party there is a quite large pool of potential voters, who are clearly not all that impressed with the big parties, and could well switch to us if we can show that we are a credible alternative. The British electoral landscape has never been so open as this poll indicates. Although Labour did well in the recent London Assembly elections, this poll shows that their support is far from rock solid and voters on the left are thinking about choosing the Green party to represent their views.

The Green party needs to win more seats at all levels of government to cement this position, but also, just as UKIP puts pressure on the Conservatives to be more right wing, the Green party can do the same job on the Labour party, although obviously pulling them to the left in our case.

This drop in support for the main established parties is echoed all across Europe with pro austerity parties paying the price for the failed laissez faire economic policies that have brought us to this sorry pass. People seem more open to listen to an alternative now, than at any time in the last thirty years, which presents the Green party with a unique opportunity to advance.  

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