Scottish Greens on course for third place at Holyrood

John Finnie

An Ipsos-Mori poll for STV puts the Scottish Greens on 10 MSPs in 2016 - putting them ahead of the Conservatives.

The dramatic poll has been used to highlight the SNP surge as of those certain to vote 57% would chose the SNP (constituency vote). For everyone, not just those certain to vote, the party would still get 55%. However, what the poll says about the Scottish Greens is much more interesting.

The Scottish Greens, who also supported independence two months ago, are on 10% for the list vote. According to the party’s Facebook page, ‘Again we're on 10 MSPs but this time it's a clear third place.’

The SNP would get 75 MSPs, well above the 69 that got them a majority in 2011. Additionally, Labour’s numbers would fall from 37 to 31, which is a bad sign for all the Scottish Labour leadership candidates. Whoever Labour choses as its next leader in Scotland, it is clear that they have an uphill battle on their hands.

The Greens meanwhile are predicted to get 10 MSPs, up from their current two. In the list vote for everyone they are on 10%. Additionally, of those certain to vote the poll also puts them on 10%.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives are set to fall from 15 to 7 seats, knocking them into fourth place. Additionally, the only pro-union party to gain is the Liberal Democrats, which are predicted to see an increase of one MSP, taking their total up from 5 to 6.

As for Labour, for the constituency vote the party would get 24%, falling to 23% for those certain to vote. The same results are repeated for the list vote.

Despite losing the referendum, the pro-independence parties are seeing a dramatic rise. This is arguably fueled by the increased engagement in politics across the country since the referendum and the closeness of the results, when 45% of Scots vote for independence.

Whilst most of the focus has gone on the SNP and their dramatic surge, including their increase in membership, the Greens coming third place is a remarkable achievement for such a small party. If the results were repeated in 2016 however, the SNP would get an increased majority, reducing the influence of the Greens. But of course, to predict seats from polls is a crude measurement as they predict uniform swings, which screws the reality of the situation.

But if the SNP do fall short of an overall majority, but remain the largest party under Nicola Sturgeon’s leadership, then 2016 could provide an opportunity for a larger Green party to get its first taste of coalition government.

The poll is just a poll but it is a sign of the ever increasing presence and growth of the Green party in Scottish politics.

The poll was taken from a sample of 1026 adults (18+) and was conducted between the 22nd and 29th of October. The full Ipsos-Mori survey can be found here: https://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/3472/SNP-increases-lead-in-voting-intention-for-Scottish-Parliament.aspx