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 - 771 Responses on “Lib Dem Targets”
  1. Alex F: “I don’t believe Lib Dems will GAIN any seats south of the border.”

    The YouGov nowcast has Vince Cable on around 60% in Twickenham. Just sayin’…

  2. I think looking at the London polls alone Twickenham and Kingston are in play

  3. Not even sure about Twickenham, though it’s the best prospect for a lib dem gain in the entire country. Cambridge looks increasingly like a lab hold.

  4. Lib Dems seats totals betting :
    0 -10 seats 3.6 (28% likliehood )
    11 – 20 seats 1.69 (59% likliehood )
    14/1 bar

  5. Matt Wilson,

    If that comment was aimed at me, I deal quite extensively with modelling in my professional life and have seen on many occasions the consequences of “garbage in”

  6. There is a swing away from Lib Dems by about 1.5% in Scotland, but that is probably mainly the result of collapse in their vote in seats they held going into the 2010 election, but have been supplanted by the Tories this time. The important thing is that the fall in the SNP % since 2015 is around 9%, which gives all the other Parties a chance if they can get the tactical voting sorted out. I think the Tories have most to worry about with recent polls swinging from Con to Lab in Scotland quite dramatically and it is entirely possible that the Lib Dems will have more seats in Scotland with 6% than the Tories with 26%. If Labour-inclined voters do not vote tactically for theTories, they will not win many seats

  7. Possible, yes. Probable? Definitely not. The maximum number of seats that the LDs could possibly win in Scotland I’d say is about 4. Whereas I think the *minimum* number for the Tories is 5 – and there is strong evidence to suggest they could win much more than that.

    The good thing for the Tories is that a lot of their contests, especially in the northern section, already have a pretty low Labour base to begin with. So in terms of seats, I think they’ll be pretty solid. Having said that, Labour’s uptick could be very damaging in the more multi-party seats, East Renfrewshire, for instance.

  8. It won’t have helped Farron in his own seat that he has, curiously, stuck increasingly to attacking the Tories during the campaign and less and less Labour – even though surely the Lab vote was softer.

    If he’d taken on them both equally, he’d have given the LDs the chance of of having a distinct identity instead of merely part of an ABT alliance.

    In particular, if LDs had done a sustained calling Corbyn out for fantasy economics that would send the country broke, and distanced themselves from them on security issues, I believe they’d be doing significantly better. They could have still kept calling out Tories on ‘Hard Brexit’ and their campaign faux pas(s) as well.

    Hence they’ve just become steadily less relevant instead, notwithstanding the hard work put in by activists.

  9. Don’t exactly have a great track record with predictions (haha!) but I can see two big blows for the Lib Dems tomorrow:

    1) Labour’s apparent mini-recovery in Scotland leading to tactical unwind scuppering Jo Swinson’s prospects in East Dunbartonshire and
    2) Clegg losing in Sheffield Hallam (could well be the big result of the night)

    As for a swing against Farron, it’s possible given that the Tories have for some reason been targeting him. Can’t see him losing though especially seeing as it was a Remain seat.

    Total seats difficult to predict, probably round about where they are now. Decent second-place finishes in the likes of St. Albans but serious tactical unwind in the likes of Torbay and Yeovil.

  10. Farron’s seat was majority remain, Plop.

    I think the LDs will be first or second in probably just six Scottish seats (O&S as a hold, Edinburgh W, NE Fife, E Dunbartonshire as marginals, and well back in Caithness and Ross; I suppose it’s possible they could pull second in Argyll, Gordon, or Inverness, too, but I doubt it).

    That probably means a very, very low overall vote, but a solid chance for gains nonetheless. It’s almost instructive to look at Unionist total vote at this point.

    Question: I can’t understand why the LDs are so bullish on St Albans. It makes perfect sense that they’d be giving it a good run in Bath, St Ives, Oxford W, Eastbourne, Lewes, and Cheltenham, but why do they think they can win St Albans? Canvassing returns? Internal polling? Self-delusion?

  11. It’s not impossible that the LDs could win 4-6 seats in Scotland on only 7% of the vote while getting less than 5 in England and Wales.

    The LDs might hang on to 2nd in to Inverness and will come 2nd in RS&L.

    They will drop to 3rd in Gordon (where the Tory vote will probably jump 20%+ with LD>Con unwind) and remain in 3rd in Aberdenshirwe West with 15-20% of the vote I guess.

    They will struggle to exceed 10% in Berwickshire.

    I think an ultra concentrated vote in little more than half a dozen seats is in Scotland is plausible due to the unusual dynamics with the constitution.

    England and Wales could be a horror show for them and there are no prizes for winning 35-40% in Cheltenham, Cheadle and OxWab.

    St Albans is a weird one but all this ramping will probably only result in at best ~30% of the vote surely?!

  12. You mean the ones like Gordon/Inverness, or also the English ones I mentioned? I seriously doubt falls in support in Bath. A vote share increase in Oxford West must be all but certain, surely? I can’t see them losing support there.

    I will credit that Eastbourne, Lewes, Cheltenham and St Ives are more debatable propositions, but… again, the idea of the LDs losing vote percentage in Oxford West or Bath is laughable, the former in particular.

  13. I was pretty convinced they weren’t going to win in St Albans but my sister told me last weekend that if she was a betting person she’d put money on it

  14. Money wasted then I suspect. Salmond won’t lose, though the Tories could see a large rise in their vote

  15. Matt Wilson: Seriously? I honestly struggle to fathom that.

    That said, Daisy Cooper would, if you ask me, be a very strong MP. I have a sense she could be a major voice for the Lib Dems if elected. (I’d add that I was very surprised when she lost the party presidential election a couple years ago; most surveys of members had her up, if memory serves.)

  16. I’d also add that I think we can get a fairly good sense of which seats the LDs think are winnable by the Tweets that go out from their main account. They retweet the party-prepared images with candidates (usually, “only [Candidate] can stop the [SNP, Labour, Tories] in [Constituency].”

    Judging from those, they are focused on:
    St Albans
    St Ives
    Oxford West
    Kingston & Surbiton
    Sheffield Hallam
    Edinburgh West
    East Dunbartonshire
    North East Fife
    Carshalton & Wallington
    North Norfolk
    Hazel Grove
    Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross
    Orkney & Shetland

    These would not have necessarily been the same seats I’d’ve assumed they’d focus on — and of course, there is more to it than retweeting those images over and over — but it is telling that that’s what they’re shouting about.

    Might put a damper on my view that they’re going to be very close in Lewes, I suppose. They haven’t said a thing about Blundell in ages.

  17. The lib dems have spent a lot of money

  18. It’s an election. Every party has spent a lot of money. Honestly, elections are what parties mainly spend money on.

  19. Also, here’s an insane one for you: Lib Dem canvassing (leaked) has them 3 points down in St Albans and up 1 in Vauxhall.

    I can’t help but feel this is a bit ridiculous. But I’ve been shocked before, I suppose.

  20. One day to go and I’m still betting on a Libdem Wipeout. I won’t be surprised if the exit poll forecasts that on the night as well.

  21. If I were a gambling type, I’d bet my entire savings on you being wrong. Gains more likely than wipeout.

  22. If I were a gambling type, I’d bet my entire savings on you being wrong. Gains more likely than wipeout.

    We’ll soon see, though.

  23. I don’t see a LibDem wipeout happening; but they are not going to make large gains either.

    The LibDem’s problem is that they are willingly in the hands of international big business when the centre and centre-left in particular want a shift of power to “ordinary” people.

  24. It would of course only take a movement of just over 20,000 voters for the LDs to be wiped out.

    But I’d imagine they’ll hold on to 3 and maybe gain 3 as well.

  25. No I mean alot 60% of election spending in St Albans is the Lib Dems

  26. In Sheffield Central, there’s been 3 leaflets from defending Labour, 5 leaflets from the Greens, and 9 from the LibDems.
    1 Tory, 1 pirate, 1 SDP.

  27. If the LIbDems had any realistic chance of winning Sheffield Central, where I lived while doing a master’s degree, the Greens wouldn’t be targetting that seat.

  28. The Lib Dem ground game is — and always has been — strong. The problem they may have is in putting resources into Sheffield Central instead of Hallam, or Bristol West instead of Bath, or Thornbury instead of Cheltenham.

    I think there are a few options:

    • Decline in seats, based on mainly national factors, to 3-6 or so

    • Status quo: around 8%, 7-10 seats. Pretty much where I think we’re headed right now.

    • Targeted operation actually works this time around, due to lower number of target seats/the painful lessons of 2010 and 2015, and the Lib Dems gain a fair number of seats (maybe a total seat count of of 12-15 or so) without any real vote share increase

    • The polls are wrong, Labour is overestimated, and tactical voting + some polling error leaves the LDs on ~12%, from which they cobble together 20ish seats. This is incredibly unlikely, but not theoretically impossible.

    I’d also note: while there were 20,000 votes separating them from wipeout in 2015, it was far fewer votes that separated them from a doubled parliamentary party (13,397 votes in the 8 seats on the list above with the smallest majorities). If they’d gotten 20,000 more in the right seats, that’d also give them the next two as well for 19,893, leaving a parliamentary party of 18.

    My point here is simply: the “they were 20,000 votes away from wipeout” argument sounds far less convincing when it’s “they were 20,000 votes away from a parliamentary party 225% the size of the one they had, too.”

  29. Sorry I was wrong – in fact only 12,500 votes need to switch for them to be wiped out.

    But I take your point that anything from 0 – 20 is possible.

  30. Yes — I also tend to think that these “this many votes and” arguments are a bit academic. Rarely will these translate into actual results particularly well. If the Lib Dems are wiped out, it won’t be because they lost 13,000 votes in just the right places, and similarly for gains.

    I will say this: losses happen for a number of reasons. Wipeouts are almost always national waves. While the Lib Dems are doing poorly, there also isn’t a national wave against them this year. That’s the primary reason I sincerely doubt a complete wipeout. Just not enough anger or passion to deliver it.

  31. Almost all of the Lib Dem seats are close. There are about 20 seats where a win wouldn’t be surprising, but only 2-3 of those are safe. A small change in VI could be the difference between 15-20 seats and about a fifth of that! I imagine it will be a very stressful night for LDs, especially in the early stages before any seat results come through.

  32. Worth noting that the last two exit polls have gotten the LD seat count off by two (both above; 59 to 57, 10 to 8). The one before, though, was nine too low (2 to 11).

    I’m just going to adjust down by two from whatever the exit poll says and assume that’ll be the result for the LDs until otherwise proven, though.

  33. The LibDems were defending/targetting 70+ seats last election. Less than half that number this time round meaning resources can be concentrated to some extent. Wipeout not impossible but I’d think unlikely.

  34. 6 seats I think.

  35. East Dunbartonshire and NE Fife are not certain Lib Dem gains. The massive rise in the Scottish Tory voted and local elections suggest they could go any of three ways.

    Consider the knife edge Con/ LD marginal of Hastings & Rye in 1997 where Labour came from 12% to win.

  36. What are the Tory chances in NE Fife? How close will they be to the LDs?

  37. When you have an increase of a party from 15 to 26 – 32% they have got the potential to come through the middle in a close contest between two other parties.

  38. The SNP are ramping the Tories in all the LD target seats to split the unionist vote. It will depend on how successful that is, though I doubt the Tories or Lib Dems will win NE Fife without a substantial chunk of the other’s supporters. There is ~35-40% who will vote Nat for sure, which means tactical voting is essential.

    Ceredigion and Orkney & Shetland are almost certain holds. Beyond that, anything is possible. For what it’s worth (to me, not a ton), YouGov has safe or likely predictions for the LDs in: Orkney, Twickenham, Kingston, Ceredigion, E Dunbartonshire, Edinburgh W, Westmoreland, and Bath. No seats are categorized as “lean” LD, though N Norfolk, Richmond Park, and St Ives are counted as tossups.

    Thoughts on Brecon & Radnorshire as a shock gain? Have heard LDs are quietly hopeful they’ll do well. It would surprise me, but stranger things have certainly happened.

  39. It wouldn’t amaze me if Tories beat LDs in E Dunbartonshire.

    However, I would be pretty surprised if this happened in N-E Fife, and would reflect a very good night in Scotland for Cons if so (unless of course SNP were still miles ahead).

  40. I think the reverse is more likely, though frankly I doubt either will happen.

  41. And they used to hold NE Fife and were the main opposition there until 2015. You can make the argument either way.

  42. Thoughts on Cambridge, realistically?

  43. Bookies’ odds for Cambridge have shifted dramatically during the campaign. Labour were 3/1 a month ago, but are now 4/6 favourites.

  44. It’ll probably stay Labour.

    I think there’s a high chance the Lib Dems will just win or just lose a lot of seats, but I have a hunch there will be substantially more on one side of that than the other. E.g., 3% behind in NE Fife, 2% back in Lewes, 1% in OWAB… Just a string of results like that that’ll be fiendishly disappointing for the party. Conversely, the targeting could work out and result in a number of gains. It seems like a knife edge election for the Lib Dems to me.

  45. I think the Lib Dems will keep 3 to 5 seats and won’t gain any although they will come tantalisingly close in a few seats.

  46. With both Labour and Tories polling about 80% between them I fear the Lib Dems could suffer further losses later on

    Their initial leads have evaporated in places they were favourites to regain, like Twickenham. Bath and Cambridge, and whilst they might run their opponents close you would have to fancy the incumbents in nearly all of their top target seats

    It’s hard to fathom where its all gone wrong for the Lib Dems during the campaign, and whilst I hope I’m wrong I do think it could be another difficult night for the party ahead

  47. Well, I will put my hands up and admit, the Libdems ended up doing a little better than I thought.

  48. Those who were talking about St Albans were actually bang on the money, at least, in terms of the Lib Dems’ relative prospects in various seats.

    Had the election gone the way most people thought it would (Lib Dems polling a double digit percentage and Labour far worse than they did), the Lib Dems would undoubtedly have taken that seat. And this prediction was consistent with the belief that the Tories would get a handsome majority.

    They didn’t take it, but the swing was huge, in comparison to many of the other, in principle more plausible, seats that were banded around and in fact the LDs did nothing in.

  49. A mixed night for the party, particularly for the LD losers from 2015 running again.

    LD Regain:

    Twickenham (Cable)
    Kingston and Surbiton (Davey)
    Eastbourne (Lloyd)
    East Dunbartonshire (Swinson)

    LD Increased Vote Share:

    St Ives (George)
    North Cornwall (Rogerson)
    Wells (Munt)
    Cheadle (Hunter)
    Cheltenham (Horwood)
    North Devon (Harvey)

    LD Decreased Vote Share:

    Bristol West (Williams)
    Bradford East (Ward, as Independent)
    Eastleigh (Thornton)
    Colchester (Russell)
    Argyll and Bute (Reid)
    Manchester Withington (Leech)
    Birmingham Yardley (Hemming)
    Cambridge (Huppert)
    Bermondsey and Old Southwark (Hughes)
    St Austell and Newquay (Gilbert)
    Burnley (Birtwhistle)

    General pattern seems to be performing well in the South West and against Conservatives, doing very badly in the cities, the North and against Labour.

    A big problem for the future expansion of the Lib Dems is how crushingly badly they performed in their top targets after the 2010 election.

    LD Now Hold (1)

    Oxford West and Abingdon

    LD Now Second (6)

    Richmond Park
    Romsey and Southampton North
    Dorset West
    Harrogate and Knaresborough

    LD Now in Third or worse (39)

    Dunfermline and West Fife
    Ealing Central and Acton
    Cambridgeshire SE
    Bristol South
    Oxford East
    Colne Valley
    Birmingham Hall Green
    Islington South
    Aberdeen South
    Newcastle Central
    York Outer
    Durham NW
    Bristol NW
    Cornwall SE
    Torridge and West Devon
    Hereford and South Herefordshire
    Newport East
    Southampton Itchen
    Edinburgh North and Leith
    Hull North
    Swansea West
    Newton Abbot
    Truro and Falmouth
    Edinburgh South
    Oldham East and Saddleworth
    Camborne and Redruth
    Sheffield Central

    LD Lost Deposit (14)

    Bristol South
    Colne Valley
    Newcastle Central
    Newport East
    Southampton Itchen
    Edinburgh North and Leith
    Swansea West
    Edinburgh South
    Oldham East and Saddleworth

  50. In case there’s another election within a year or so, here are the only seats that the Lib Dems could take with a 5% swing. The figures I give reflect the percentage gap (i.e., those with a gap of less than 10%.

    Fife NE 0 SNP
    Richmond Park 0 Con
    Ceredigion 0.2 Plaid
    St Ives 0.6 Con
    Sheffield Hallam 3.8 Lab
    Cheltenham 4.5 Con
    Devon North 7.8 Con
    Cheadle 8.3 Con
    Leeds NW 9.1 Lab

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