This has been a long time coming, but I’ve only just had the chance to look at the breakdown from the Green/ICM poll for Brighton Pavilion.
Going through the breakdowns, I was surprised to see in Table 2 (the ward by ward breakdown), the voting intentions of constituents in the Patcham and Withdean wards.
The voting intentions in Patcham read:
Lib Dem- 2%
This is a 13% swing towards the Greens from the 2007 City Council elections. However, 22% of respondents in Patcham, when asked whom they would vote for replied, ‘Don’t know.’ This creates what could be an interesting scenario in a solid Tory ward.
The breakdown in Withdean, another Tory stronghold, where the three councillors enjoy a majority of well over a thousand, reads:
Lib Dem- 4%
This is very atypical behaviour from voters who would not normally be considered Greens. Yet again, the ‘Don’t knows’ are remarkably high, 29% of correspondents said they did not know who they would vote for.
This is an opportunity for the Greens and a major threat to the Tories. If the Cameron message is not sticking in their strongholds, how does this really fare elsewhere across Pavilion?
It wouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that the Tories were least popular in Hanover and Elm Grove (only 9% of correspondents said they would be voting for the Conservatives), St. Peter’s and North Laine (10%) and Preston Park (16%).
Perhaps the most suprising figure to come from the poll was the Tories strong support in Hollingbury and Stamner where 34% of correspondents said they would be giving them their vote, only 19% said they would be backing Labour on polling day and 20% said ‘Don’t know.’
The number of ‘Don’t knows’ in the poll was rather high, 19% of the total number of people asked said they did not know who to vote for, meaning that this election is far from over and, particularly in Patcham and Withdean, there is all to play for. If the Conservatives can’t get the vote out in their strong holds, it will become very difficult for them to push the vote in other wards in the constituency.
Whilst the margin of error for the poll is high, especially with a sample size of 533, it’s clear that the battle in Pavilion will be a straight fight between the Tories’ Charlotte Vere and the Greens’ Caroline Lucas. If the Greens can draw a line in Withdean (and I certainly believe there is every chance that the Greens can poll very highly in the ward), they will force the Tory campaign to concentrate more of their efforts (and far more of their resources) trying to shore up their vote.
But this is a General Election and parties need to get every vote they can, regardless of where it is. The Greens greatest strength in Withdean and Patcham is the fact they’re not Labour. The Greens need to cultivate that potential, to target swing voters in parts of those wards (the roads and streets most likely to nod in tune with the Green message) and to convince the ‘Don’t knows’ to look at the math, to be bold and to commit.