A private poll has found Labour and the Green Party neck and neck in the Brighton Pavilion parliamentary constituency.
The findings, reported by the Brighton and Hove Independent, come from a poll commissioned by Michael Ashcroft, the former Conservative Party treasurer.
Lord Ashcroft said: “In Brighton Pavilion I found Labour on 33 per cent, just one point ahead of the Greens, who were up a point on the last election.
“The seat will evidently be closely contested but on this basis I would not be surprised to see Caroline Lucas holding on next year.”
Both parties are up of their performance at the 2010 general election. Labour is on 33 per cent, up 4 per cent, and the Greens are on 32 per cent, up 1 per cent.
Lord Ashcroft’s polling report can be found here.
He wrote about the poll findings in an article on the Conservative Home website.
He said that the Green Party’s performance across the country suggests that it may have been identified as the new “none-of-the-above” vote for former Liberal Democrats who dislike the coalition and do not want to back any of the established parties.
In other words, he said, they could perform the same function for younger urban voters that UKIP currently does among older voters in other parts of the country.
The Brighton and Hove Independent quoted Caroline Lucas’s campaign manager Adam McGibbon as saying: “This poll, essentially showing Greens and Labour neck and neck, is very good news for the Greens.
“It shows that, even this far out from the election, with all of the national debate focusing on Labour and Tories, in Brighton Pavilion voters are still bucking the trend once again.
“We echo Lord Ashcroft’s own view – this will be a closely contested race in which Caroline retains a very strong position.
“Caroline is a fantastic MP, relentlessly standing up for what matters to her constituents, and her track record speaks for itself.
“Her voice in Parliament is extremely strong and she holds solid political sway.
“Whether it’s standing up for the NHS, affordable housing, a safer environment or keeping public services in public hands, Caroline fights for what matters and she gets it on the political agenda.”
Labour’s parliamentary candidate for the general election next May, Purna Sen, was quoted by the Brighton and Hove Independent as saying: “The latest Ashcroft polling in Brighton Pavilion is, of course, encouraging as it puts Labour ahead of the Green Party.
“It reflects what we have been hearing on the doorstep and when listening to local residents – that support for the Green Party is ebbing and for Labour is growing.
“The same poll shows that Pavilion residents would prefer a Labour government (43 per cent) over a Conservative one (20 per cent).
“Opposition to this government’s policies is widespread.
“Opinion polls are not election results and I shall continue to work hard to listen to local residents, hear their concerns and put my efforts towards returning a Labour MP with a hotline to a Labour government.
“The voters of Pavilion deserve to have an MP with influence.”