In the 1989 European Elections, the Green Party gained 14.5% of the vote, receiving 2.2 million votes, and putting us in third position. The party was too small, without funds, to capitalise on that interest, and since then we’ve averaged between 6% – 8% in EU elections under PR (Proportional Representation) and 2% – 3% in the seats where we stand in Parliamentary elections under First-Past-The-Post (FPTP).
This gives us a baseline against which we can measure our progress. That progress can be measured in three different ways: the polls; our membership; and our results
Pollsters don’t prompt respondents about the Green Party, and our figures have been in the 2% to 3% mark for years. So when they rise to above 5%, it’s time to get excited! And that’s exactly what’s happening now. Although a few still put us on 4%, we are consistently polling above that mark, and the numbers are growing. The YouGov poll in the Sun on 16th November gave us 8%, and an unpublished Mori poll on the same day said 9%. We are regularly beating the Lib Dems, now.
Our membership in 2002 was about 5200. By December 2013, it had grown to around 13800 and since then it has doubled. In Sheffield, our membership has shown a similar increase, and shows no sign of abating. The Young Greens are the fastest growing element of that. They are responsible in part for the higher profile of the Green Party, playing a highly creative role on social media, and pushing the petition to get the Green Party into the televised Leaders’ debates to over 260,000 signatures, the biggest ever petition on Change.org.
So the surge is real and unprecedented. It represents a huge opportunity to turn our increased polling figures into real gains when the 2015 results are announced. The way to make that happen is to get more members old and new coming forward to help get more Greens elected, as councillors and as MPs.
Sheffield Central is one of the top eight Green target seats in the country. In this year’s May council elections, across the five wards, we polled 30%, beating the Lib Dems, coming first in two wards, second in three. For us, the surge was already on, and it was due to a lot of very hard work. That work must go on and increase in intensity. We have to reach more people more often, and in places where we’ve not done much work so far.
That work has already started. If you, like me, don’t want to waste this opportunity, contact firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. Be part of the Green Surge!