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 - 770 Responses on “Lib Dem Targets”
  1. For all the flack pollsters got about getting the Tory-Labour balance wrong in 2015, let’s not forget that national polls, constituency polls and the exit poll were all absolutely right where the LDs were concerned. That strongly leans me in the direction of trusting the polls in that the LD support is steady at around the 10-11% mark nationally.

    It was only the seat predicting sites that got them wrong through manual adjustment. Which ironically is precisely what we’re doing in suggesting the LDs will go much above ten seats. As almost everyone does, even those who are generally cynical about special factors involving specific elections, specific constituencies or specific candidates.

    As things stand I’m absolutely certain that LD gains will outnumber what LD-CON and LD-LAB swings suggest (based on the latest UKPR average I believe this would be a net loss of one in England and Wales, haven’t done calculations in Scotland but presumably it’s between 0 and 2 seats on the Scottish swing from SNP to LD). But my prediction that they’ll significantly outperfom this is only really because of SW London (I expect a net gain of two or three) and because I’m allowing for two or three “freak” results. Outside of those two caveats, I think LD performance will be very much in line with what national polling implies, because otherwise polling would surely be picking up more of a LD surge than we’re seeing.

    The constituencies where I think they have the ability do exceptionally well in terms of increased share are constituencies where they seem to be too far back to actually win. St Albans, Vauxhall and Hornsey and Wood Green, for example. In all cases I’m sure an impressive improvement, but any of those flipping would be a shock (despite my opinion that the latter could be fairly close). Oh, and Buckingham if they stand, though obviously that’s a bogus improvement.

  2. Constituency polls were not accurate at all in 2015.

  3. The local election results may help the Lib Dems better identify the few seats where they may be competitive.

    The Conservative strength means Lib Dem prospects in the west of England are probably limited to Bath, Cheltenham and St. Ives. Elsewhere, they will be trying to get strong seconds to serve as a base for next time.

    Eastleigh and Eastbourne are leave areas that nonetheless seem worth targeting. St Albans, Lewes and Oxford West are worth fighting though the odds seem long.

    Richmond Park, Twickenham, Kingston and Bermondsey must still be top national targets.

    Cardiff Central is the only possible gain in Wales.

    Cheadle should be fought hard. I don’t know what the local situation is in Burnley.

    East Dumbartonshire, Edinburgh West, and Northeast Fife should all be winnable. It’s worth concentrating on Gordon and Argyll and Bute as well, in order to maintain the position of being the main challenger to the SNP.

    Of the seats already held, Carshalton and Southport will be hard fought.

    It’s still a long way to the election, but it’s hard to see the Lib Dems getting more than 20 seats even if they have a successful campaign and improve their national vote share.

  4. It’s not been the evening the Lib Dems were hoping for.

  5. These results are underwhelming if not disappointing, but I would agree with that JR that in terms of our potential GE result there is a lot that can be spun as good news.

    Look at the Scotland results. Edinburgh West, North East Fife and East Dunbartonshire surely now have to be very good chances of gains. The results in Caithness and Argyll and Bute look promising.

    We must have carried Bath in the West of England mayoral election and Bristol West was a decent result.

    Cheltenham was comfortably held and our vote share increased more than the Conservatives. It has to be a potential gain. Cambridge looks very good given that we beat Labour for the first time across the city since 2010. We also won the mayoral vote. Oxford West and St Albans are clearly worth targeting given our gains today.

    Cardiff Central wasn’t bad and neither were the results in Powys but I don’t imagine we will make any inroads into Wales by the time of the GE.

    Eastbourne and Eastleigh need to be taken with a pinch of salt. Our local base is very strong there and the UKIP vote which switched to us in Eastleigh certainly has more motivation to vote Conservative in June.

    We are out of it in Thornbury and Yate, St Austell, Berwick Upon Tweed 🙁 , Colchester and are probably out of it in Burnely and St Ives. North Cornwall and Wells were good but we will struggle to overturn those majorities.

    As for our current seats, North Norfolk was very good, Cerdeigon was good. However, Tim Farron’s seat did show real and quite surprising jitters.

    The local election caveats all apply. It wasn’t the night we hoped for but in isolation the areas that we could potentially gain MP’s were not bad. I really don’t want to make any predictions for England and Wales atm. It would be a big surprise if we didn’t end up on at least four seats in Scotland. I think there were some positive signs for an improvement from a very low base.

  6. First: for some reason, the “Recent Comments” thing isn’t reloading for me, so I can’t actually see where discussions are currently happening. Ah well.


    I have my list for Lib Dem seats this time around, and I think I feel comfortable with it.

    Westmoreland and Lonsdale (increased majority)
    Sheffield, Hallam (increased majority)
    Orkney & Shetland (increased majority)
    Ceredigion (increased majority)
    Leeds, North West (increased majority)
    North Norfolk (decreased majority)
    Carshalton & Wallington (will be close)
    Richmond Park (will be close)

    Southport (with a note: I think they’ll lose one of Southport, North Norfolk, and Carshalton, and this is the post likely, with North Norfolk by far least likely)

    Cambridge (quite certain)
    Twickenham (quite certain)
    Cheltenham (quite certain)
    Edinburgh, West (quite certain)
    North East Fife (fairly certain)
    Eastbourne (leaning)
    Lewes (leaning)
    East Dunbartonshire (leaning)
    Bath (50/50)
    Cardiff, Central (50/50)
    Oxford West & Abingdon (a hunch)
    St. Ives (a hunch)

    Additionally: I think there is a vague shot of a localized revival in one or two South West seats we haven’t thought about here.

    Portsmouth South
    Bermondsey & Old Southwark
    Manchester, Withington
    Hazel Grove
    North Cornwall
    St. Austell & Newquay
    Thornbury & Yate
    Brecon & Radnorshire
    Birmingham, Yardley
    Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross

    Winchester (strong council gains, they should make inroads)
    St. Albans (strong local position, strong candidate, getting a ton of resources)

    I don’t think they actually have any shot at Vauxhall

    In total, I’ve got the LDs 12 gains, one loss, with Richmond Park counting as a hold. So, 20 seats.

    That’s much more optimistic than some on here are about the LD chances, and I could be far wrong, but this feels pretty right to me. Interestingly, I only see one gain off of Labour.

  7. There is a great deal of fantasy in some of the above posts. The evidence points to little advancement in key seats. Following the local election results even previously assumed gains in Twickenham, Kingston and Bath must be questioned. If the Tory vote holds in areas that voted remain and absorbs the UKIP vote – where is the extra support for the LibDems going to come from? Any revival will be limited and if the locals are a sign of what is going to come, for a handful of gains they may easily loose an equal or greater number.

  8. As a side – I have heard from canvassers in Sheffield Hallam that they believe Clegg is a goner this time. Student vote is strongly pro-Corbyn and the ex-Tories that propped him up last time are going to return to Conservative fold.

  9. Beagle – Clegg managed to hang on without the student vote two years ago, I doubt Labour can squeeze much more out of that proportion of the electorate than they already managed. Additionally the election timing means the students will be packing their bags by polling day so they might not even be voting in this seat.

    The tactical unwind to the Conservatives is a risk, but conversely Nick Clegg’s personal toxicity must have receded a bit. That coalition already feels like a long time ago.

  10. I’ve put this on the St Albans page but it’s relevant here too. Local results across the district: Lib Dems 45% Tories 30% Labour 16%

  11. Clegg? A goner? I highly doubt that. The Lib Dems don’t seem the least bit worried about Hallam, so far as I’ve heard. Labour isn’t even trying in the seat, either. That makes absolutely no sense.

  12. If Beagle is so convinced Clegg is a goner he/she can get 16/1 on the Conservatives and 25/1 on Labour. One could bet on both and make money.

    I think it’s too early to make predictions on seats — what I was trying to do was identify what seats the Lib Dems should target (obviously I forgot Cambridge). There’s a lot of campaigning to come, and dynamics may change.

    Regarding Lib Dem prospects as far as they can be assessed right now, I do think Mr Pitt is over optimistic (e.g. on Cheltenham), and Beagle too gloomy.

    Ladbrokes, by the way, has 17.5 seats as the over/under number on the Lib Dems.

  13. 17.5 sounds reasonable to me.

    I was actually more pessimistic before the locals. I think they clearly show a direction for the Lib Dems and a list of very plausible target seats is emerging.

    It’s clear after Thursday that their goal in a lot of the SW should be just to keep decent second place finishes. That is less surprising than most think. They’ve been doing well in the South West mainly in years when the Tories haven’t done well nationally; even in 2010, they lost many SW and SE seats (3 in Cornwall, Newton Abbott, Oxford W, Romsey, Winchester, etc.), while the elections where they held those — 97, 01, 05 — were all Labour majorities. Maybe being the alternative to an unpopular Tory party is what really boosts the LDs there and 2015 just exaggerated a decline that might have happened anyway.

  14. Following a breakdown of the locals it is clear that the results indicate the development of certain seats which look as if the liberals have very strong chances. In Scotland Edinburgh West and North East Fife yeilded impressive results. I believe there was a 10% swing to the party in Cambridge which is impressive and even places like Bristol West they substantially outpolled the Greens in the metro mayor election. 18% of the vote will not be replicated at the GE put this performance definitely suggests they have every chance of reaching 13-14% in the polls and ending up with around 16-20 seats.

  15. Yesterday’s results pretty much confirmed the thoughts I already had on the LDs – they’ll go well in some Remain areas (mainly those with very high Remain votes) and look very good for 4 seats in Scotland, but will make few if any inroads in Leave territory and are at risk of losing some of their existing seats. About 15 seats looks like a probable total.

  16. I have spoken to many canvassers in Hallam, and have done so myself. Clegg is most certainly not a goner. Here, as around the country, people are abandoning Labour.

  17. I wouldn’t be shocked at all if Clegg gets above half the vote again. In fact, I think it’s as likely as not, though my guess would be around 46 or 47 percent.

  18. I don’t think Cambridge can be described as anything like a ‘certain’ LibDem gain.

    Both the mayoral election and the local elections suggest that the seat in on a knife-edge. By my figures, Labour just edged it in the council elections and the Lib Dems were just ahead in the Mayoral (for which you need to allow for Queen Edith’s ward being outside the Cambridge constituency).

    I’d make the Lib Dems marginally favourites, though.

  19. Beagle,
    The London poll in early April plus looking at cross-breaks of more recent polls show the Tories are barely changed from 2015 while the Lib Dems are 6-7% up. The council results cannot be extrapolated to London at all (by the same token the Lib Dems are hardly up from 2015 levels in the N of England and gains from the Tories in places like Cheadle look very unlikely..

  20. Yes, the LDs seem to have caved in the north. Very probably their only northern MPs will be Farron, Clegg, Mulholland, and maybe the candidate in Southport (whose name I am forgetting). It’s a little ironic that half their holds in ’15 where there, given they have almost no room for growth.

    I actually think that — somehow — the most likely LD gain in the north is Withington, which I think will be closer than expected (though a Labour hold).

  21. No chance in Manc.

    Burnley is the only one with an outside chance in the NW.

    Yes the Cllr in Southport could well win. Although on a very low %

  22. The LD councillor? Or the Tory challenger? (For Southport)

    And I’m not so sure on Withington. I expect Leech to be well over 30%.

  23. I fear the Lib Dems in Manchester are now a bit torn between Gorton and Withington.. The local by-election in Rushcliffe suggests 20% is probably the best they can expect in Gorton now it is a General Election. Leech should hold his vote in Withington I would think

  24. The best LD chance of a gain in the north of England (NE, NW, Y&H) is Cheadle. The council results in Burnley show that that’s not really viable, meaning Withington would likely be the next best target, and we all know that’s not going to happen,

  25. I see no one is mentioning my nearest notional target, Solihull… (Nor of course my mother’s constituency or Hereford: extraordinary to think they held it fairly comfortably from 97 till 05)

  26. I think it’s possible LD could actually lose seats if it’s 47-31-8 split in popular vote. The only three seats I think they are 100% certain of winning are O&S, Westmorland and Ceredigion.
    In Carshalton, Southport and North Norfolk LD could all be swamped by movement of Leave voters to the Tories.
    LeedsNW and Hallam were only held because of movement of Tory voters to LD. If this unwinds they could be in serious danger since Labour seem to be holding up well with Students, middle class and Urban voters.

    As for gains I can’t see many chances for LD’s outside of SW London and Scotland. Oxford West is a good punt I reckon. Cheltenham, Bath and maybe Eastbourne.
    Cambridge is likely but not certain.
    Struggling behind that maybe Cornwall North?

  27. “Struggling behind that maybe Cornwall North?”

    If the Lib Dems win back any of their seats on the SW peninsula it’ll be St. Ives. Smaller majority to overturn, better Remain vote (though I think it was still something like 53% Leave) and more Labour/Green votes to potentially squeeze.

  28. Hallam and Leeds NW aren’t in danger.

    Lewes is a far better hope for them than Eastbourne, I’d say.

  29. Lewes seems a bit of an open goal – marginal Remain-voting seat with Leave-supporting MP. But there’s also potential for tactical unwind post-Baker.

    If the Lib Dems manage to climb back to the teens (seats-wise) Lewes will presumably be among them.

  30. I think Lewes is one of the best prospects in the south, alongside Cheltenham, Bath, Eastbourne, maybe St Ives, and Oxford West.

    No clue on Portsmouth South anymore. Also wouldn’t be shocked by a decent LD performance in Winchester, judging by their council gains their and its remain-ness. They won’t gain it, but should substantially cut the majority.

  31. There’s still plenty of time for campaign dynamics to change, but I am now less optimistic about Lib Dem gains.

    Gains seem likely in only a handful of seats: Twickenham, Kingston, Cambridge and the 3 Scottish targets. There are of course other possible gains (e.g. Richmond Park, Bath), but on the other hand Carshalton and Southport look like they will be difficult to hold.

    Ladbrokes has moved the over/under figure for Lib Dem seats from 17.5 to 15.5. My guess right now is that the best value is to bet on 15 or fewer.

  32. I think the bookies are catching up with the point I made on 22nd April that unless the Conservative vote falls back to around 40%, the Lib Dems will have few chances to regain seats lost in 2015.

  33. Should be no difficulty turning this list of seats yellow. I’m optimistic that Redcar will be very easy to regain, with stupendous momentum.
    If can win Cheadle, probably possible to take Macclesfield and Tatton aswell.

  34. Can’t tell if you’re being ironic or serious…

  35. Have you not met the original Plop?

  36. Is he the same as maxim tory estimate etc? I lose track…

  37. Ha ha watch out for The Cotswolds and North Wiltshire for two real Lib Dem longshots lol…

  38. This is a stupendous election for the Lib Dems. I got into it rather late because I was calling out desperately for paper for ages, but people kept giggling and leaving me there, none of htem would help.

    2015 was a horrible awful election I just want to forget. The electorate had a one off spasm but it’s business as usual now.
    I watched the awful result on my sofa then went and drowned my sorrows at a pole dancing club.

    The Cotswolds and North Wiltshire will go Lib Dem this time. Probably take Windsor and Bracknell forest aswell.

  39. No, Gloy is the original spoof account. He does have another account on here but not MPR et al

  40. Gloy is (or at least was) JJB (John James Broughton), a Tory who longs for a return to the 1950s two party system. He is getting excruciatingly boring.

    Yes, I remember your post, and you are correct. The same thing happened with the Alliance in 1983, even though they got a much higher vote share than the Lib Dems will get this year.

  41. Correction to my above post:

    That should be “Joe James B” (he just posted on the Moray thread).

  42. Yes, Gloy is a real scratched record these days…

  43. I am sure he is Strong and Stable though….

  44. @ Gloy Popwell

    Fiddlesticks. Tatton & Macclesfield are some of the safest Con seats in England. Martin Bell’s tenure of Tatton in 1997-2001 was in unusual circumstances.

    The LDs, with their inept eccentric policies attractive only to a minority and an inane leader (even in comparison to Labour and JC), are likely to lose seats and may find that 1 taxi (not 2) is enough for their MPs post the GE.

  45. Having all these different names is confusing. I happen to love the film jaws. Tim Farron could be a very lonely man come June 9th. If the LDs only have two mps where do they go from there?

  46. Quint, I’d suggest that the stage would be set for a high stakes leadership contest.

  47. Thats an excellent response haha
    RE Winchester

    Could be a case of embed the candidate and slowly build. This is her second go. Next time round will definitely be in play methinks.

  48. Nick Clegg seems to be doing a bizarre tour of the country. He has been in lots of different seats from what I hear. Seems a strange decision to me tbh.

  49. Clegg is reigniting the spark of Cleggmania

  50. Well in four weeks when he doesnt have a job I have that spark will keep him warm. If you’re in a marginal seat you shouldn’t be in seats like Hornsey where the Libs have no chance of winning but have second nailed on.

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