Figures from Bournemouth University’s student survey suggest that the Green party’s recent surge in support could be due to their appeal among younger voters.
34% of under-25s who responded said they will be voting Green in the May general election, just four percentage points less than those who plan to vote for the Conservatives.
The result reflects national polls which show the Greens are now the second choice party for students, holding 24% of the vote vs 9% across all age groups. In large part, this is due to widespread disillusionment with former ‘student’s party’ the Liberal Democrats, who failed to keep their promise on tuition fees after entering into coalition with the Conservatives.
Despite a number of recent train wreck media appearances, Green leader Natalie Bennett emerged in the BU poll as the second most preferred future leader of the country (behind David Cameron), with 20% of under-25s wishing to see her become Prime Minister.
At a recent Q&A session held at Bournemouth University, Bennett urged young people to vote in the general election even if they don’t know who to vote for. “If you don’t think you can vote for anyone, still register, still go into the polling station and write a rude word on the ballot paper,” she said.
Bennett also remarked that Young Greens membership has more than doubled since the beginning of the ‘green surge’ in November last year, making them the fastest growing youth party in the country.
According to the Bournemouth survey, environment ranks relatively low amongst the concerns of respondents, suggesting that the Green’s other policies are also persuading students to support them.
The party’s supporters on campus cited fairness as a reason to vote for them. “They seem to give everyone their fair share when it comes to employment and education, which as a student I particularly like the idea of,” said 19 year-old Abbie Sprake. 20 year-old Jessica Gammage saw the Greens as a more trustworthy option: “I think the other parties are full of empty promises, but the Green Party have proven they will stick to their word. The issues they bring up are up and coming.”