Green parties achieved a major breakthrough in the 1989 European elections. Who voted green in these elections? This first comprehensive comparative analysis of the green voter in Europe reveals, that, as expected, green voting is more common among the young, well-educated, and middle class, and green voters also tend to be left-wing, post-materialist and concerned about the environment and arms limitation. But these stereotypical attributes of greenness closely apply to the German and Dutch Greens only: green voters in other countries comply far less, if at all, with this socio-demographic profile. The one pervasive predictor is environmental concern, which is dominant in Britain, France, Belgium and Ireland. It is rather less important in Germany and the Netherlands where post-materialism and a left-wing orientation are more prevalent instead. The basis of green voting is thus rather less narrow than previously thought. The sharper delineation of support for the German Greens has contributed to a relatively stable green vote in the past, but the potential for attracting other sectors of the electorate are clearly very limited. Green parties in most other countries appear to be able to attract votes from a wider spectrum of the population but the commitment of these voters is likely to be far more volatile.
- green voter
- european elections