Young people: the Green's biggest hope

Vote Green bicycle

A recent surge in support means the Green Party now rank third most popular amongst young people

A YouGov poll released on Friday shows promising results for the Green Party. The poll which asked ‘If there were a general election tomorrow, which party would you vote for?’ found a surge in the Green’s popularity amongst those aged 18-25.

The support amongst the UK’s youngest voters rose from 7% at the beginning of the year to an impressive 19% now. The Greens are now ranked in third place; hot on the heels of the Conservatives who are now only 5% ahead. The Liberal Democrats fared worse being the least popular party amongst 18-25 year olds- a whole 6% behind UKIP. The Lib Dems have notoriously ranked poorly in popularity polls, especially for those under-25, there is a general feeling of lost faith in a party that offered so much and then delivered so little in the tuition-fee debate.

The poll comes after more recent statistics that show Green support is on the up. A different YouGov poll for the Sun ranked the Greens fourth place amongst the voting population. It is notable however that the Greens see much lower support in the general population than they do amongst the youngest voters. The general population ranked them only a mere 1% higher than the Lib Dems and a whole 10% lower than UKIP. Thus, the growing support for the Greens seem to be coming predominantly from young people.

Indeed the Green Party have committed themselves to many popular policies aimed specifically at young people. They propose a doubling of investment in young people at an estimated cost of £1 bn alongside other advantages such as free bus-fares for all those under-18. They also controversially propose raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility to 14- the current age in the UK being a lower than European-average 10.

The reasons for results in polls such as these are speculative however clearly the Greens are doing something right amongst the under 25’s. The ‘Young Greens’ blog purports that amongst the many reasons young people are voting Green is their dedication to free education for everyone- including an end to the unfair and unsustainable tuition fee system and the Green’s campaign for investment in youth employment.

Whatever the reasons it is clear that the Greens are making progress, not least amongst young people. They have perhaps tapped into a key market for their campaign leading towards May’s general election. However, it is questionable, in the current first past the post system, how much impact the Greens could actually ever have. This coupled with their exclusion from the General Election TV debate in 2015 it is clear the Greens, even with this surge in support, have a long way to go before making any substantial waves in the UK’s political scene any time soon.

The full results of Friday's poll can be found here: