Wrong data analysis of ‘teal vote’ support for the Greens

*/With the possibility of a Blue-Green party being raised again questions are being asked about whether there might be  enough voter support for another environmental party.

However the wrong questions are being asked – of ‘current Green voters’, and those who voted Green last election. They strongly prefer red over blue, or Labour over National.

Stuff: ‘Teal’ vote within Green Party minuscule, data suggests

Data suggests the supposed “teal” section of National-leaning Green voters is tiny.

But data from the New Zealand Election Study, a long-running scientific analysis of voter behaviour, suggests the overwhelming majority of current Green voters lean left.

The study consists of a survey of 3445 respondents following the election, who are asked a huge variety of questions. Their votes are validated and the results weighted to the wider voting public.

Fully 84.42 per cent of those who party voted Green said they would prefer Labour to lead the Government. Just under a tenth (8.47 per cent) picked National while 5.02 per cent said they didn’t know and 2.09 per cent said they didn’t want either party to lead.

Furthermore, these voters overwhelmingly rated themselves as left-of-centre politically – far more than Labour voters did.

Roughly three quarters (74.63 per cent) of Green voters rated themselves as left-of-centre on a ten point scale. Another fifth (20.1 per cent) either “didn’t know” or put themselves in the centre. Just 5.26 per cent rated themselves as right of centre.

This compared to just over half (50.58 per cent) of Labour voters who rated themselves as left-of-centre.

But there were only 6.27% of voters who chose Greens in the 2017 election. This was well down on the 10.7% who voted green in 2014, and much lower than up to 15% they were getting in polls two years ago. That’s a lot of potential voters who could consider an alternative environmental party.

There could easily be voters who chose National, Labour or NZ First last election. Or people who didn’t vote because they didn’t like any of the parties on offer.

The best way of determining possible levels of Blue-green party support is to poll everyone and ask them, and not limiting the data analysis to dedicated Green party voters.

And the only way of knowing for sure is to stand in the next election, and see what all voters indicate their preference.

‘Preliminary discussions’ on Blue-Green party

National’s lack of partner parties is a real problem for them under MMP. They either have to take a punt that they can become a single party government, something that has never been allowed by voters under MMP. Or they can hope that a new party starts up that can either be anchored by an electorate MP, or can get 5% (also something never achieved by a new party under MMP).

There has been talk of a more business friendly environmental party for years. The Green Party has often been criticised for it’s fairly extreme social stances, and this limits it’s support from b=voters who want a strong environmental voice in Parliament. Co-leaders like Metiria Turei and Marama Davidson are well supported on the left, but deter more moderately minded environmentalist leaning voters.

Lucy Bennett reports that Blue-Greens movement could be National’s answer to toppling Ardern

Talk of a new centrist green political party which could potentially partner with National in a future government coalition is starting to become more than just speculation.

It is understood preliminary discussions among interested parties have already been held on creating a party that combines economic and environmental credentials, filling a demand not already taken up by existing political parties.

It is also understood former Green Party leadership contender and one-time National candidate hopeful Vernon Tava is the front-runner to lead the party.

James Shaw probably wouldn’t be out of place in a Blue-Green party but I doubt that he would jump the Green ship – unless a Blue-Green startup looked like cannibalising Green party support to the extent that they were at risk of missing the 5% cut?

Tava told the Herald on Sunday a party that had the environment at its heart was missing from the political landscape and it was a great idea. He would consider leading such a party.

“It’s certainly something I would take seriously,” he said.

“I’ve always said it’s a great idea and what we need.”

Despite his Green Party origins, Tava has close links to National Party figures and was campaign chair for National MP Erica Stanford, who holds Murray McCully’s old seat of East Coast Bays.

There has been talk for some time about the possibility of other small parties to bolster National, but National will want to ensure any such party does not carve into its own vote.

National leader Simon Bridges said it was no secret National wanted to see new parties emerge this year.

“What would be most pleasing to see is parties that are additional to National’s support base. Not just for the National Party, but for the public, a genuine green party and an indigenous Māori movement are two reasonably likely scenarios this year,” he said.

Of course National would love to see partner party options for them. But would a Blue-Green party help National take over power from Labour?

I’d certainly be interested in some sort of Blue-Green party. I have voted Greens in the past but have concerns over their strong social/socialist stances. I have concerns about how far left a Labour-Green coalition might go.

But I would be most likely to support a Blue-Green party that was independent and would be willing to partner either National or Labour (or Labour-Greens).

If a Blue-Green party looked to be largely a National puppet party I would be disappointed and I think many other potential supporters would be too. I doubt that it would succeed. If National jacked up an electorate for a Blue-Green party I suspect that wouldn’t go down well with many voters.

I could easily get enthusiastic about genuine independent Blue-Green party as long as it would sit in the middle-ish and drive the best deal it could get out of any other parties who were voted into Parliament.