Monday, 11 May 2015

The Lib Dems are doing badly but are they doing badly enough ? How many seats will the Lib Dems win ?

The Lib Dems are doing badly but are they doing badly enough ?

The Liberal Democrat election strategy has been on concentrate all their resources into about 40 seats they believe they can win. It may be even fewer as apparently some seats probably 10-12 are deemed safe enough that they won't get much outside help. These are the ones like Tim Farrons and Norman Lambs where not only do the Lib Dems have a big majority, their opponents haven't really got their act together.

Anyway, so resources are being poured into the selected seats, so money is provided for the printing (and possibly distribution) of leaflets, party workers may be employed to organise volunteers etc,
and members from across the region will be asked to work in these seats - often in "regional action days"

So is it working ?  The Liberal Democrats claim they are doing 'much better'  in their target seats than they are elsewhere.  Whether that is true depends on what one means by 'much better'.  If they mean their poll ratings are much higher in these seats than elsewhere, it is undoubtedly true.  In a sense, it is an odd claim to have to make,  a party is getting its best poll ratings in the places where it has the biggest campaigns.  Well if it wasn't ....

The real question though is will it deliver the MPs the Lib Dem campaign is based upon ?  On this measure things are looking far less rosy.

One of the problems with targeting is that the voters don't always do what is intended. Another is that other parties can spoil the best laid plans.
Looking at the Lib Dem Poll ratings they have not shifted during the election campaign. It seems impossible to reconcile the sort of vote predicted nationally can be broken down so the Lib Dems can win the target seats they expect to.  Put bluntly, they need the 8% to be concentrated in 40 or so places whereas all the evidence points to them getting 5-6% in many places they aren't likely to win leaving not enough extra votes from the total 8% to get to 35-40% in the places they need to.

I suspect that standard voting intention question in the Ashcroft polls reveals the true level of Lib Dem support in these seats.  On that basis, the Lib Dems aren't ahead anywhere.  I am sure they will attract some personal votes, but the expectation seems to be that Lib Dem MPs have thousands and thousands of personal votes, when all pervious elections have suggested very few MPs get more than 1-2000 personal votes, whereas the Lib Dems seem to think they can get 5,000 - 10,000.

With that in mind my prediction is the Lib Dems will win just 12 seats. 

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