The Green Party are currently attracting more support than they’ve managed at any stage over the past couple of decades, according to the latest Guardian/ICM poll, with Natalie Bennett’s crowd just two points behind both the Liberal Democrats and Ukip on 9%.
Bennett and co are highly unlikely to be involved in Government after May’s General Election, with Ladbrokes.com currently offering 4/5 on the Greens picking up exactly one of the House of Commons’ 650 seats, but the minor party’s bump could have huge significance nonetheless.
As flagged up by Ladbrokes’ politics expert Matthew Shaddick in his ‘The Political Bookie‘ blog, the Greens were 100/1 to win Lib Dem-held Bristol West back in July. After a flurry of bets over the past six months, they’re now into 9/2, having been cut by half a point from 5/1 over the past 24 hours.
Shaddick states that Bristol’s large student population is ‘undoubtedly a factor’ in the yellows’ loss of support; no politics watchers need reminding of Nick Clegg and co’s complicity in trebling university fees once they’d got into government, having been for abolishing them prior to Election 2010.
That being said, the Coalition’s minority members remain odds-on favourites at 4/5 to win Bristol West, where they have a thumping majority of over 10,000 votes, for the third election on the spin, while Labour look a big threat in this territory at 7/4.
With that in mind, the most likely route to profiting from the Greens’ surge in support still looks to be in backing Caroline Lucas, their sole MP and former leader, to hold onto her Brighton Pavilion seat at 8/15.
It hasn’t been all plain sailing for Lucas’ lot at the south-coast resort, where they also run the council and pushed through an ill-conceived ‘meat-free Mondays’ initiative for council workers in 2011. The imposition didn’t last long.
That faux pas doesn’t seem to have done too much long-term damage though, as the Greens were only kept off top spot for Brighton and Hove in last May’s European Parliament Election by Labour, leaving Ukip, the Lib Dems and the Conservatives in their wake.
However, Ladbrokes’ 6/1 about the Greens picking up at least 10% of the vote at the General Election seems a bit short, considering they’re pulling in 9% now and the poll is sure to tighten in favour of the more established Westminster outfits come May.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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