The 3 Lib Dem seats where the Greens are a threat

by Stephen Tall on August 29, 2014

green party logoIt’s three months since the Lib Dems were beaten into fifth place at the European elections: the party which nudged us out was the Greens. Ukip may be grabbing the media attention, but it’s the party of Natalie Bennett and Caroline Lucas which poses the bigger threat to our party.

It’s not hard to see why. Ian Warren of the @election-data blog has analysed which groups of voters were most likely to vote Green last May. See if you can spot a trend:

  • Well educated singles living in purpose built flats
  • City dwellers owning houses in older neighbourhoods
  • Singles and sharers occupying converted Victorian houses
  • Young professional families settling in better quality older terraces
  • Diverse communities of well-educated singles living in smart, small flats
  • Owners in smart purpose built flats in prestige locations, many newly built
  • Students and other transient singles in multi-let houses
  • Young renters in flats with a cosmopolitan mix

They are, of course, all groups which in the past have tended to be favourable to the Lib Dems. It’s no surprise then that three of the top 10 seats where these groups account for very large proportions of total households are Lib Dem-held seats:

  • Cardiff Central (41.1% of households) – 13% Lib Dem majority over Lab (Jenny Willott)
  • Bristol West (37.6% of households) – 21% Lib Dem maj over Lab (Stephen Williams)
  • Manchester Withington (33.9% of households) – Lib Dem maj of 4.1% over Lab (John Leech)

The Greens don’t stand a chance of winning any of them. But if enough 2010 Lib Dem voters choose to go with them next May it’ll be a boost for Labour. As I first wrote seven years ago, in November 2007:

“As Ukip is to the Tories, so can the Green party be to the Lib Dems.”

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.