Liberal Democrat Target Seats

These are the fifty seats with the lowest percentage majorities over the Liberal Democrat party. This does not necessarily mean they would be the most winnable seats for the Lib Dems in practice, or that they are the seats the Lib Dems party will actually be targetting at the next general election - on current polls, it is likely they will be putting more effort into defending seats than gaining them.

1. Camborne & Redruth Majority 66 (0%)
2. Oldham East & Saddleworth Majority 103 (0%)
3. Oxford West & Abingdon Majority 176 (0%)
4. Sheffield Central Majority 165 (0%)
5. Ashfield Majority 192 (0%)
6. Edinburgh South Majority 316 (1%)
7. Truro & Falmouth Majority 435 (1%)
8. Newton Abbot Majority 523 (1%)
9. Chesterfield Majority 549 (1%)
10. Swansea West Majority 504 (1%)
11. Hampstead & Kilburn Majority 42 (0%)*
12. Kingston-upon-Hull North Majority 641 (2%)
13. Rochdale Majority 889 (2%)
14. Harrogate & Knaresborough Majority 1039 (2%)
15. Watford Majority 1425 (3%)
16. Montgomeryshire Majority 1184 (4%)
17. Edinburgh North & Leith Majority 1724 (4%)
18. St Albans Majority 2305 (4%)
19. Newport East Majority 1650 (5%)
20. Derby North Majority 613 (1%)*
21. Weston-Super-Mare Majority 2691 (5%)
22. Hereford & South Herefordshire Majority 2481 (5%)
23. West Devon and Torridge Majority 2957 (5%)
24. Winchester Majority 3048 (5%)
25. Northampton North Majority 1936 (5%)
26. South East Cornwall Majority 3220 (6%)
27. Bristol North West Majority 3274 (7%)
28. City of Durham Majority 3067 (7%)
29. West Dorset Majority 3923 (7%)
30. Richmond Park Majority 4091 (7%)
31. York Outer Majority 3688 (7%)
32. Streatham Majority 3259 (7%)
33. Pontypridd Majority 2785 (8%)
34. Newcastle upon Tyne North Majority 3414 (8%)
35. Aberdeen South Majority 3506 (8%)
36. Islington South & Finsbury Majority 3569 (8%)
37. Warrington South Majority 1553 (3%)*
38. Birmingham, Hall Green Majority 3799 (8%)
39. Romsey & Southampton North Majority 4156 (8%)
40. Colne Valley Majority 4837 (9%)
41. Oxford East Majority 4581 (9%)
42. Bosworth Majority 5032 (9%)
43. Chelmsford Majority 5110 (9%)
44. Plymouth Sutton & Devonport Majority 1149 (3%)*
45. Bristol South Majority 4734 (10%)
46. Great Grimsby Majority 714 (2%)*
47. Totnes Majority 4927 (10%)
48. South East Cambridgeshire Majority 5946 (10%)
49. Ealing Central & Acton Majority 3716 (8%)*
50. Wrexham Majority 3658 (11%)

*Liberal Democrats currently in third place

Comments - 89 Responses on “Lib Dem Targets”
  1. Robber, no-one is for a moment suggesting that the Lib Dems will make a net gain, and no-one who is taken seriously on the site is suggesting that they will definitely take a seat.

    They are going to lose a significant number of seats (although due to FPTP probably less than the polls would lead most to suspect), but local factors mean that it is not impossible that they might gain one or two. And indeed, if they do gain a seat, it could well be a seat further down the target list.

  2. I have said openly that I don’t think they’ll pick up any seats whatsoever, even on a gross basis. The fact is their vote is likely to near enough halve from their 23.5% in 2010. They ‘ll be lucky to poll 12%. If this happens, I can’t honestly see how they can win any seats in 2015 that they didn’t win in 2010. This election in 2015 will be an historic election for the yellows, for all the wrong reasons.

  3. If someone forced me to put money on it at evens, I’d bet against the Lib Dems winning any seat in 2015 that they didn’t hold in 2010. I would probably bet on them polling 12% or higher, but expect that I would be sweating about it until quite late on in the counting process.

    All I’m saying is that there are three or four constituencies where there is a realistic possibility of an upset, with emphasis on the word upset.

  4. The Liberal Democrats, if they gain any seats at all in 2015 (the last time they lost seats without gaining any in return was as long ago as 1970, though), will at most gain two or three of the ones described in the link-they might be just able to sneak in in St. Albans as well. The Liberal Democrats have done comparatively well in Hertfordshire compared to the many areas where their support has been decimated.

  5. Agreed. I think they’ll gain one, probably two or three.

  6. I have opined on this before…I don’t think they’ll win any…let’s see who’s right!

    The 2015 will be the most exceptional elections for the lib dems since they were supplanted by labour in the 1920s. The got 23.5% in 2010. I honestly think they’ll do well to get half that VI in 2015, or 11.75%.

    In these circumstances, they ain’t going to win any seats. sorry. Yes, there are local factors…Yes, they will pull off a number of surprising holds. But losing 50% of your vote share is a catastrophe. If that happens, I can’t for the life of me see how they pick up seats in 2015 which they failed to win in 2010. Additionally, they will be putting minimal resources into seats which they do not currently hold.

    Sorry. I don’t see them making a single constituency gain, but I will be pleased and surprised, if time proves me wrong.

  7. Ashcroft’s battleground polling for Watford does at least suggest that it would not be unreasonable for the Lib Dems to hope for one shock gain.

    Still unlikely of course, but it really is difficult to see the Lib Dem national VI going lower than the 7-9% they’re currently hovering at, and therefore if further polling were to support the notion that they’re in contention then win or lose they would presumably remain in contention.

    It does of course reinforce just how far they have fallen under Clegg that their real-life target list is a yellow post-it note with “Watford???” written on it.

  8. My local seat of St. Albans would be a feasible Liberal Democrat pickup- although I wouldn’t bet on it. The Lib Dems are still strong(ish) on the council in St. Albans, and their local organisation is both loyal and pretty effective. I would guess Watford down the road is a much longer shot.

  9. The Lib Dems will get a whole lot less than 48 seats and their net seat loss is almost certainly going to be above 9. Them holding about 35 seats would be about reasonable but 48 is just ludicrous. Even in a best case scenario they will lose Argyll and Bute, Gordon, Redcar, Burnley, Manchester Withington, Bradford East, Solihull, Cardiff Central, Norwich South, Brent Central, Hornsey and Wood Green, and Somerton and Frome (12 losses so unless you are predicting several Lib Dem gains, which would be ludicrous, 48 is impossible). This is not even counting very likely losses in East Dunbartonshire, Chippenham, Mid Dorset and North Poole and Wells or the potential loss extremely vulnerable seats like North East Fife, Inverness, Aberdeenshire West, Edinburgh West, Cambridge, Portsmouth South, St Austell, Taunton Deane, North Devon, Berwick etc. Whoever made this forecast is clearly smoking something illegal. The Lib Dems would be very fortunate even to get 38 seats let alone 48 (they will be nowhere close). This ‘model’ is clearly rubbish and should be ignored.

  10. The honest truth is we are in completely new territory as far as the Liberal Democrats are concerned in this coming election.

    In past elections the Lib Dems (and the Liberals before them) have tended to outperform in the seats they were defending when their national vote was falling. This however will be the first election where they will be trying to do this after a period in government. This may hinder them – it may not. I suspect that the model referred to in the Guardian article is based on historical precedence, Its difficult to see how the new element could be factored in. I suspect that their ability to “buck the trend” will be diminished: but how far is unclear.

    And of course Scotland is – if the opinion polls are to be believed – a different ball game altogether and hardly any seats are SNP proof.

  11. 33 seats is my prediction for the Lib Dems, the 28-38 range easily the most likely, anything either side of that and I would be a little surprised, more so if it was above 40 than below 25 ofc

  12. I always thought there would be a lib rally towards the end which would save seats like Taunton from falling but recent opinion pills have seen them stagnant or falling back a little further… I now think it’s unlikely they will get more than 10% and so 25-30 seats seems a lot more likely than 35+ to me..

    Who knows what will happen on election night as 2010 was a real shock for the liberals and I think this year could be the same… There will be some bright spots though with some of my liberal friends in Cambridge saying they are doing a lot better than they think so I expect them to hold seats like that Cheltenham and bath with minimal reduction in majority but for others to fall quite spectacularly..

    Roll on May which should be an interesting month

  13. A friend of mine is a Lib Dem member and last night told me “we might make a few gains, four or five”. His fellow LD partner thinks Ashfield is a realistic prospect for them.

    I think they’re both living in cloud cuckoo land. Election Forecast currently predicts they will take Watford and Montgomeryshire. One or two may be possible, but I think as many as five is in the realms of fantasy, and Ashfield is certainly not going to be one of them.

  14. Before I looked on that site, my hunch would have been 0 gains – and to be honest I’m still inclined to go with what Peter Crawford said and predict that to be their outcome.

  15. me too

  16. I think Watford is a real possibility only because of the popularity of their candidate who is the current mayor… she has always massively out performed her party especially in her last election and I think she will carry with her a very strong personal vote..

    That will be the only liberal gain and even then it’s only a 50:50 chance… I would suspect that if the libs continue to poll in the 5-8% they are currently on even a massive personal vote won’t be enough to save people let alone make gains

  17. “A friend of mine is a Lib Dem member and last night told me “we might make a few gains, four or five”. His fellow LD partner thinks Ashfield is a realistic prospect for them.”

    The story I told about my parents voting Tory for the first time in 36 years on the Labour Targets thread is appropriate here, as they live in Ashfield. They’ve noticed all the trees full of Lib Dem leaflets but are copiously ignoring them despite living in a Lib-Lab marginal. It isn’t a good sign that the Lib Dems are going to be very successful there in 2015, though I still expect them to get a respectable second place.

  18. TM appears to be saying predicts a LD gain in WATFORD but this is not correct.

    EF gives CON a slender lead and in its probability model says CON are 81% to win.

  19. Well, I was only going on the probable ‘LD Seat Gains’ link:

    Which as you suggest is actually low probability at 15%. The chances of them taking Montgomeryshire are listed at 28%.

    So those are the only two which they even have an outside chance of gaining, it would appear.

  20. We need a poll in Montgomeryshire.

  21. Map showing which constituencies have candidates still to be selected in Britain for Con, Lab, LD:

  22. Interesting academic question: are there any seats in which the LD vote share will rise?

    I would guess that it will happen, but in very, very few.

    The best obvious bets are Eastbourne, Sutton, and Carshalton, but only Eastbourne is really likely. Also Eastleigh if we’re counting an increase from the by-election (which actually could happen in a few seats that had by-elections this parliament).

    Then I’d say they’ll probably have a few random increases for no obvious reason. Who knows where, why, or how, but it happens, even in disastrous years. Depends on candidate and stuff. I wouldn’t be utterly shocked in Ben Fearn got an increase in his share, but it’d be strange.

  23. P.T.Richards
    “We need a poll in Montgomeryshire”

    There has been one but it has not been published. I know 2 people who were polled, not canvassed, with named candidates within 24 hours of each other. Presumably one of the parties private polling.

  24. There’s lots of yellow on that map where the Lib Dems have yet to find candidates, particularly in the midlands.

    Is it in any way conceivable that they will fail to contest all mainland UK seats (with the exception of the speaker) leaving them open to accusations of no longer being a national political party?

    I’d have thought that in constituencies where local Lib Dem parties are moribund their national organisation would intervene to ensure that the seat is contested in the name of the Lib Dems?

  25. There are so few LD targets for me. I think Watford is the only possible one that is realistic and that is due to the popularity of the candidate themselves.

    Bearing in mind the lack of targets, why don’t we have a UKIP targets page as well? I support Labour but I think from a polling website it would be interesting to see what is happening in these UKIP “targets” to get some analysis from the area rather than having to go around all possible areas?

  26. Problem with a UKIP target seat list is that the other target lists are done on two-party swing. UKIP require paper swings of 20%+ in most of their target constituencies, and the ones they’re actually within a shot of gaining are not necessarily the most obvious from their 2010 result.

    In fact in plenty of these seats, UKIP didn’t stand, endorsing Eurosceptic MPs of other parties.

  27. Nevertheless, we know where UKIP are targeting seats and although they cannot be analysed mathematically (or listed at the top of the page), we can see what is happening “on the ground” and how does it relate to Ashcroft polls. Are they actually in a position to get 10 seats or will it be just Clacton? I certainly feel there will be more UKIP gains than Lib Dem gains.

  28. i think the LD vote will drop everywhere but will do so only slightly in Eastbourne, B’ham Yardley, Sutton & Cheam, Carshalton & Wallington, and perhaps Wells.

  29. So the targets judging from where Clegg has headed so far;

    Oxford West & Abingdon
    Miadstone & the Weald

    Selected Others;
    Camborne: Judging from the Ashcroft Polls 2nd would be a good result
    Newton Abbott: terrible Ashcroft Poll but decent CC results, 2nd but nowhere near a win
    Ashfield: what a disaster, need I say more
    Turo: Another awful Ashcroft Poll, will do well to finish 2nd
    St Albans: no idea

    Labour Marginals: lol

  30. I would have thought that Maidstone and the Weald was a bit of a long shot. From Lib Dem activity here in Montgomeryshire they are definitely treating it as a target.

  31. I know that the Lib Dems have conducted a poll in Montgomeryshire. I understand that the result showed the Tories were ahead, but not by much. The seat is very much being treated as a target

  32. Looks like John Smith called it right

    “The Lib Dems are calling for people to vote tactically in 20 Tory-facing seats. Here is the list of 20 seats: St Ives, St Austell and Newquay, North Cornwall, North Devon, Torbay, Cheadle, Hazel Grove, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Solihull, St Albans, Bath, Montgomeryshire, Maidstone, Chippenham, Berwickshire, Watford, Mid Dorset and North Poole, Taunton Deane, Somerton and Frome, and Oxford West and Abingdon.”

    Just published on the Guardian Politics Live Blog.

    Interesting that Bath is included on the list. Concern about the impact of Don Foster’s retirement?

  33. Interesting too what’s not on the list, no tory held Cornish marginals, no Eastbourne, no SW London seats, no Cheltenham but Bath present! I have heard tories on Political betting ramping bath and obviously the LD appear to be concerned there despite the dud tory candidate.

  34. County Durham Boy,

    I suspect that a realistic assessment has been made of Camborne and Redruth , and Cornwall SE starts with the largest Conservative majority in the county. I am slightly surprised that Truro and Falmouth was excluded but the Ashcroft poll there was very poor and the consensus on this site is that Sarah Newton will hold, assisted by a very split non Conservative vote.

    The other seats you mention are probably secure though Sutton and Cheam is always a tight contest.

  35. Desperation on the part of the Lib Dems. They have 0 chance of winning Somerton and Frome or Solihull (and arguably quite a few others too. St Albans is probably the most ridiculous. They have almost complely given up locally (I know the seat very well) with resources almost certainly diverted to Watford. Richard Pyne as we have discovered recently any polling the Lib Dems release to the public tend to massively over estimate them (see Hornsey, Aberdeenshire West, Dunbartonshire East).

  36. I would imagine that Lib Dems are calling for tactical votes wherever they can get away with it. As will other parties.

  37. Yes, there’s nothing surprising about a party seeking tactical votes! Including in seats that can’t be won, but where a party is seeking a stronger position for next time.

    I think the Lib Dems would be delighted and relieved to win 10 of those 20 seats, but unless their national position improves they will likely fall short.

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