This morning I had a really interesting conversation about the Greens political fortunes and future on twitter with a couple of Greens folk and others. (yes, it is amazing what you can fit into 140 characters or less)
The topic soon moved onto Greens electoral demographics – not only who votes for the Greens, but who doesn’t and why.
As the largest third party in Australia, and with ever decreasing amounts of people saying that they are wedded to one major party or another, it’s interesting to ponder just why the Greens don’t perform better at elections – especially with the environment becoming a more pronounced issue.
What makes me wonder about this is that Greens voters are, on average, more educated than the national average (and there’s some evidence to suggest that they’re more politically aware as well) – so readers here do share at least one key demographic attribute with Greens voters, perhaps more – making you lot pretty much target number one for future growth in Green voteshare.
So why don’t you vote Green? What do the Greens do or say that stops you from voting for them? What would they have to do for you to change your vote and give it to them?
What are your thoughts on the caliber of Greens candidates? Are there too many whackjobs? Are there too many militant ideological types? Does their current candidate selection regime impede or boost their vote?
What about their current political and policy platform? Does it look like it’s overcome the Compromise = Sell Out argument within the party, or does it look as if that argument still has a long, long way to go before being settled in the broad sense that compromise doesn’t always mean selling out? If the party had more young professionals without political baggage standing for office (say, for instance, Larissa Waters types) and a few less Marxist types and miscellaneous ratbags, do you think that would change the party in a way that would make them more electable (if not for you, then for others)?
For those that wouldn’t ever vote for the Greens for whatever reason, what are your views on the Greens political position compared to that of mainstream Australia – and what’s your view on the current distance between the two, and how far do you reckon that distance has to reduce before one becomes compatible with the other?
With increasing numbers of people not being rusted on, and with both the Liberal and Labor parties having flanks exposed to the Greens – I’d be interested in your thoughts to see just how far away the Greens are from being able to (or potentially able to) make a realistic political assault on those major party flanks.
Something else that I’ve often wondered is why a large proportion of Greens voters live in the inner cities where the amount of natural environment is smallest, while their vote is weakest the further away one gets from a capital city CBD and where the environment itself becomes larger? And why do most young modern farmers – some of the biggest environmentalists in the country in the truest sense of the word – think that the Greens are pretty much the enemy and will have little to do with them?
Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated, especially since you are the demographic that will mostly decide whether the Greens remain a smallish third party relegated to the Senate, or one which becomes a much larger and competitive mainstream force in Australian politics.