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Green party support a natural: Expert

IRWIN LOY, 24 HOURS

This week's strong showing for the Green party in the Vancouver Quadra byelection didn't come as a surprise to one academic.

SFU professor Cara Camcastle has studied the makeup of Green party membership and says the budding federal party is often mischaracterized.

Her research found one-third of members left other federal parties for the Greens. Of these, 39 per cent were from the left-of-centre NDP. But 20 per cent were ex-Liberals, 33 per cent were former Tories and eight per cent came from the old Reform party.

"I was amazed," Camcastle said of her research results. "They're attracting members from the left and the right. I think the Greens are commonly misunderstood as being from the left."

The Greens boosted their vote tally Tuesday night to almost 14 per cent of the vote in Quadra, up from five per cent in 2006. The affluent riding may have been ideal for the Greens, Camcastle said.

"The membership of the Green party tends to have similar characteristics to voters in Vancouver Quadra," she said.

For example, one-fifth of Green party members, her research suggests, work in social science and education fields. In Quadra, 16 per cent of residents share that line of work. The Greens and Quadra also share a high percentage of people who work in applied sciences, arts, culture and health.