Over at politicalbetting.com, Mike Smithson notices something odd about the Greens. They do far better in opinion polls than they do in actual elections. “Looking over polling which can be tested against real results,” he says, “there does appear to be something of a pattern – more Green supporters seem ready to tell pollsters that they will vote for the party than actually do so.”
Smithson suspects that people say they’re going to vote Green when really they’re not going to vote at all. I hesitate before contradicting Britain’s most distinguished commentator on polling, but surely he is wildly wrong. The poor are least likely to vote and the least likely to say they support the Greens. Environmental politics are a middle class obsession with no appeal in the slums, and the middle classes do turn out for elections. A far more convincing explanation for the discrepancy, comes social scientists who point out that polls have a bias in favour of the left.