Polls show the Greens have a chance to achieve greatness in 2024

Green Party co-leader Carla Denyer, photograph from her blog.

The Green Party are currently averaging around 6% in opinion polls – enough to win 2 seats at the general election this year. It hardly sounds like a breakthrough, but beyond headline voting intention there’s a story developing that gives hope for a Green surge in 2024. Let’s take a look…

Keir Starmer is deeply unpopular

Despite Labour being, on average, 20+ points ahead in the opinion polls, Keir Starmer is a deeply unpopular figure among the general public. Around 44% of people currently intend to vote Labour at the general election this year, but according to Ipsos only 25% of the public approve of the job Keir Starmer is doing as Labour leader. 56% are dissatisfied. For Labour this is quite a worrying starting point to kick off a general election campaign.

Green Party policies, dropped by Labour, are popular with the public

According to surveys by YouGov, the general public consistently and overwhelmingly support policies to tackle climate change and achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050; rent controls; nationalisation of rail, mail, energy, healthcare and water; A higher minimum wage; higher taxes on the rich and peace in the middle east. Keir Starmer has largely abandoned the progressive, left-wing policy platform on which he won the Labour Leadership election in 2020, and has instead positioned the Labour Party as socially conservative, pro-big business and pro-privatisation in order to court favour with the right wing press.

The public really, actually like the Green Party

Opinion polling regularly shows that the Green Party are the most “liked” party in the UK, the Green candidate for the 2024 London Mayoral election is the only one with a net positive favourability rating, in preferential elections voters often give Greens a hefty number of second preference votes, voters regularly believe “good” fictional characters like Father Christmas & Doctor Who would vote Green and a recent Ashcroft poll asking the likelihood that voters will back each party in a general election put the Greens on a whopping 13%. Voters genuinely like the Green Party – the Greens are the “good guys”. When voters know the Greens have a chance of winning – in elections with proportional voting systems – they vote Green in much larger numbers than in first-past-the-post elections.

So What?

According to current headline voting intention, Labour will win in an absolute landslide victory at the next General Election. The Conservatives will be decimated – maybe even wiped out entirely – and the Greens will gain only a handful of seats at best. But that’s not the whole story. Keir Starmer’s deeply unpopular Labour Party is winning by default, so can the Greens capitalise on their popularity with the public and present themselves as a credible alternative to voters?

Many voters would love to vote Green, but don’t think they can win elections. The Green Party’s task over the coming months is not just to make the public like them, it’s to help the public truly believe that voting Green means electing a Green MP. That it’s not a wasted vote. That they can wake up one sunny Friday morning in 2024 to many, many Green voices in Parliament, not just 1 or 2 or 4. This will be the true test of Carla Denyer & Adrian Ramsay’s leadership. Their legacy.

Four our sakes, let’s hope they meet the scale of the challenge.

Daniel Johnston Menezes

Game developer, font designer and founder of earthize.org, involved in green activism for over a decade.

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