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.

1. Cambridge Majority 599 (1.1%)
2. Eastbourne Majority 733 (1.4%)
3. Lewes Majority 1083 (2.1%)
4. Thornbury & Yate Majority 1495 (3.1%)
5. Twickenham Majority 2017 (3.3%)
6. East Dunbartonshire Majority 2167 (4%)
7. Kingston & Surbiton Majority 2834 (4.7%)
8. St Ives Majority 2469 (5.1%)
9. Edinburgh West Majority 3210 (5.9%)
10. Torbay Majority 3286 (6.9%)
11. Sutton & Cheam Majority 3921 (7.8%)
12. Bath Majority 3833 (8.1%)
13. Burnley Majority 3244 (8.1%)
14. Bermondsey & Old Southwark Majority 4489 (8.8%)
15. Yeovil Majority 5313 (9.4%)
16. North East Fife Majority 4344 (9.6%)
17. Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross Majority 3844 (11.2%)
18. Colchester Majority 5575 (11.4%)
19. Cheadle Majority 6453 (12.1%)
20. Cheltenham Majority 6516 (12.1%)
21. Berwick-upon-Tweed Majority 4914 (12.2%)
22. Ross, Skye & Lochaber Majority 5124 (12.2%)
23. Portsmouth South Majority 5241 (12.5%)
24. Brecon & Radnorshire Majority 5102 (12.8%)
25. Cardiff Central Majority 4981 (12.9%)
26. North Devon Majority 6936 (13.3%)
27. Wells Majority 7585 (13.3%)
28. North Cornwall Majority 6621 (13.8%)
29. Gordon Majority 8687 (15%)
30. Hazel Grove Majority 6552 (15.2%)
31. Montgomeryshire Majority 5325 (15.7%)
32. Birmingham, Yardley Majority 6595 (16%)
33. St Austell & Newquay Majority 8173 (16.2%)
34. Argyll & Bute Majority 8473 (16.4%)
35. Eastleigh Majority 9147 (16.5%)
36. Oxford West & Abingdon Majority 9582 (16.8%)
37. Bristol West Majority 5673 (8.9%)*
38. Bradford East Majority 7084 (17.1%)
39. Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk Majority 328 (0.6%)*
40. Chippenham Majority 10076 (18.2%)
41. Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey Majority 10809 (18.8%)
42. Hornsey & Wood Green Majority 11058 (19.1%)
43. Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine Majority 7033 (12.8%)*
44. Bosworth Majority 10988 (20.5%)
45. Maidstone & The Weald Majority 10709 (21.4%)
46. Mid Dorset and North Poole Majority 10530 (22.6%)
47. Newton Abbot Majority 11288 (23.4%)
48. Solihull Majority 12902 (23.5%)
49. Redcar Majority 10388 (25.4%)
50. Watford Majority 9794 (17.5%)*

*Liberal Democrats currently in third place

Comments - 668 Responses on “Lib Dem Targets”
  1. On a wider note I wonder if an MP being leader is an absolute must, certainly for Labour. Khan, Rotherham and Burnham can all claim to have larger personal mandates than any MP would. Maybe some out-of-the-box thinking could be required by Labour to make one of their mayors the overall party leader with a different parliamentary party leader?

  2. Yes, the number of hereditary Peers was fixed in perpetuity (well under the Strathclyde deal and until we ever get around to reforming the Lords – if ever), so each time one passes away, there’s a by-election [amongst the group they sat with ie Tory, Lab, LD or crossbenches].

  3. If the LDs don’t advance, I think they have a few options. First amongst those options, if she wins, is Jo Swinson. I think the party would get behind her very quickly.

    Next up would be Lamb if he holds, or even a return to Clegg.

    However, I think the “Lib Dems going down” talk is still premature, for a few reasons.

    1. Tory actions show them defending against the LDs, not so much targeting them (with a couple minor exceptions).
    2. Scotland is a bit of a different beast, and they look certain to gain a seat or two — and maybe three — there.
    3. I think, and polling bears this out, that the LD vote increase/decrease will be heavily uneven. That makes predicting individual seats substantially harder.
    4. Their vote share is still up on 2015.

    I still think mild gains are more likely than not, 12 +/- 2. I could be proven wrong, of course, but on balance I think they’ll pick up as many as 6 and lose a couple.

  4. Lib dems have had a dreadful couple of weeks, no momentum whatsoever. Not even sure Vince gets back in. Also if labour are polling well nationally, surely even Cambridge is tricky for the lib dems!

    Currently, Mr Pitts 12 seats look ambitious for the yellow team

  5. The LDs are draining support because of a bizarre manifesto, an incompetent leader and the inherent squeeze of 3rd parties in FPTP elections. They will be lucky to hold even 5 of their current 8 seats (IMO Carshalton, N.Norfolk and Southport are almost certain Tory gains) and may lose others.

    They might gain 1 seat in SW London (out of Richmond/Twickenham/Kingston), 1 in provincial England (out of Bath/Cheltenham/Cheadle) and 1 in Scotland (out of Edinburgh West/East Dunbarton/NE Fife). I don’t expect them to gain any seats from Labour.

    That would be zero net change on 2015. However, the poll trends suggest that they may drop to 5-6%, which could mean no more than 2 seats in total.

  6. The following seem plausible vote shares based on current polling:

    GB: Con 48%, Lab 32%, LD 5%, UKIP 3%, Green 2%
    Scotland: Con 29%, Lab 19%, LD 5%, UKIP 1%, SNP & Greens (who are only contesting 3 seats north of the border) 45%

    Putting these figures into Electoral Calculus gives the following result for GB (632 seats): Con 377, Lab 199, SNP 52, PC 4.

    The LDs have disappeared!!! Even upping their GB vote share to 6% would only give them 2 seats.

  7. Electoral Calculus is a blunt tool. Suggestions that Tim Farron could lose his seat are utterly for the birds.

    I still think they can hit 15, though they will certainly have downgraded their ambitions a little since the beginning of the campaign.

    They’re pretty decent favourites in Twickenham, Bath, Cambridge and Edinburgh West. Plausible that they pick those up while losing Carshalton, Richmond, Southport and Norfolk North and ending up breaking even – though for me that’s a worst-case scenario. I doubt that they will lose seats, even if their vote share remains in single figures.

  8. @ Poll Troll

    I broadly agree with you; I think that the LDs will end up with about 8 seats. Your suggested gains and losses are in line with my expectations. However, I expect a Labour hold in Cambridge: many of the students will have gone down by 8/6/17 as it is close to the end of term.

    I was merely conjecturing that if the LD poll ratings drop any further they are at risk of being wiped out, but of all the 9 seats that they are defending, Farron’s is the least likely to be lost.

  9. Looking at some (couple weeks out of date) regional polling, I think the idea of “LDs in free fall” is less on the ball than “LDs are going to do very, very differently in different regions.”

    Some examples:
    • Almost doubling in the two recent London polls (7.7% to 14%)
    • Rise in SE (9.4% to 15%)
    • Holding in SW (15.1% to 16%)
    • Rise in East (8.2% to 12%)
    • Mild rises in Yorks, Midlands, NW
    • Decline in NE (6.5% to 6%)
    • Steady in Wales, maybe slight increase
    • Slight decline in Scotland.

    No matter their overall percentage, I think these patterns will hold, and be even more pronounced seat to seat. I could see a situation where the Lib Dems actually fall back a bit in some regions (NE being the obvious candidate, but maybe even SW, though I doubt that) while still gaining seats in London, SE, and Scotland (albeit with a lowered overall share).

    I think this election will actually be the antithesis to last time. Then, we were all thinking the LDs vote would hold up far more in their held seats, but it ended up being a pretty sharp swing against almost everywhere. Now, it seems people are looking at the national share, but there’s a fair bit of evidence it will be quite localized.

    Still, look at it this way: the Tories are barely up in London since ’15, Labour are very slightly down, LDs way up, Greens slightly down. What’s to stop, say, LD gains in Twickenham and Kingston (I actually doubt the latter, but never mind) while simultaneously losing North Norfolk? That’s more what I see happening, rather than a general decline.

    On the flip side, those gains in London could come entirely in wasted votes in the central part, coming distant (but much closer than 2015) seconds to Labour and the Tories in seats they can’t possibly win.

    Hard to say.

  10. @ Mr Pitt

    You could be right and maybe also the dementia tax will help them with Tories who won’t make the full switch to Labour.

    But those polls you quoted were a significantly better time for them on UNS- maybe 11% (difficult to judge with long fieldwork dates) as compared to maybe 8% now- I guess we simple don’t know where they have dropped off.

  11. Farron has had a good few days scoring goals on the Dementia tax and was called “Fiery Farron” in the Mail on Sunday. The polls seem to have stabilised for them at 8-9% on fieldwork before that. Who knows, but I think a mild uptick is more likely than further losses..

    I am not sure what was “bizarre” about the Lib Dem manifesto other than the evidence-based but unpopular pledge on cannabis which is usually there. Otherwise it seems a good deal less bizarre than “punish Tory voters” (Tory manifesto) or “promise everyone everything and hope we don’t get in (Labour manifesto)

  12. In Scotland you have to remember the Lib Dems are not fighting the Tories but the SNP, and Tories showed a strong inclination to vote tactically in the Holyrood elections. SNP are down a few ℅ and that gives them a fair chance of gains

  13. Shevii: Yeah, I did mention they were outdated.

    Still, it would still be the case that there were major regional variations, and some with increases (the national scene is still up on 2015, after all).

    Andrew, I think, is right as well: Scotland poses some strong possibilities. I actually think E Dunbartonshire is being ramped too much; that one might not be as good for the LDs as people thing. Edinburgh West and NE Fife still look like strong prospects, though, and even Caithness is a possibility, albeit not a close one (though the betting markets have it as such).

  14. Is NE Fife Mings old seat?

  15. Yes, and Willie Rennie gained the equivalent Scottish Parliament seat last year

  16. Yeah; Rennie overturned an 8.7% majority into a 10.1% majority.

    Notably, Huw Bell — the 2015 Tory candidate — also stood in the Holyrood election, where he was down 2.2% of the vote from 2011 (he was down 5.5% in the Westminster election the year before, too).

    It’s a 9.6% majority at Westminster for the SNP; I don’t think it’ll be too hard for the LDs to pick up a few unionist tactical voters, plus some direct SNP switchers. Scottish Green isn’t standing, which should help SNP a little. It’ll be close, but I’d be willing to say Riches has the upper hand by a fair margin.

  17. I think they will end up with 6 or 7 seats or so, losing 4 or 5 but gaining 2.

  18. I think that would be absolutely devastating for them. Not the end, perhaps (they did worse before, of course), but it’d still be catastrophic.

    Return of Clegg as leader in that case?

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