The Green party has polled two points ahead of the Liberal Democrats in a national poll on general election voting intentions. The latest YouGov poll for The Sun puts the Green party on 8 percent, and the Liberal Democrats on 6 percent, giving the Greens a two point lead for the first time in a YouGov poll.
The same poll had Labour in front of the Conservatives by two points, on 34 percent and 32 percent respectively, and placed Ukip on 14 percent.
The Green party first edged ahead of the Liberal Democrats in October, polling higher than their left wing rivals for the first time in over a decade albeit by just one point. Since then a number of YouGov polls has shown a one point lead for the greens, but this is the first time they have edged two points ahead.
Their continued progress up the polling tables will spell bad news for many Liberal Democrats in marginal seats who may see their vote split by the environmentalist insurgents, allowing candidates from Labour, the Conservatives and even Ukip to take their seats.
The Greens currently hold one constituency, Brighton Pavilion on the south coast, which is home to a large number of students. Caroline Lucas, who holds the seat with a majority of just 1,252 votes, will draw some comfort from YouGovs figures which show that the Green party is still popular with a young audience – 19 percent of 18-25 year olds were backing her party, against just two percent who were planning on voting Liberal Democrat, presumably thanks to the Liberals reneging on their promise over tuition fees in 2010.
The results will also boost claims by the Green Party that their leader Natalie Bennett should be allowed to take part in any televised leaders’ debates in the run up to the general election next May.
Commenting on the poll lead in October, Bennett said “The coverage of our exclusion from the leader debates under current plans has certainly given more voters a chance to hear a little about the Green Party, and learn about policies such as making the minimum wage a Living Wage, bringing the railways back into public hands and saying that the profit motive has no place in healthcare.
”Our membership surge indicates that they are clearly liking what little they have had the chance to hear and this further strengthens our case for inclusion in the debates.
So far, nearly 253,000 people have signed a Change.org petition calling for the Bennett to be included in the debates. The current expected format is a series of three debates: one between Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour opposition leader Ed Miliband, another to include deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg, and a third to include the Ukip party leader Nigel Farage.
The BBC, who are likely to host the debates, have said that they “will continue to keep any new evidence of increased support for the Green party under close review”.