How many seats will the Lib Dems win at the general election?
SELL! SELL! SELL!
Everybody wants to back the Liberal Democrats to do badly at the general election. Their seat number line has dropped from 38.5 to 31.5 during the last twelve months.
Let’s have a look at their top 40 chances of winning a seat, based on Ladbrokes’ current odds in each constituency. The LD win% is their chance of winning that seat, as implied by our prices.
|Rank||Seat||2010 Maj%||LD Win %|
|1||Orkney & Shetland||51.3||91.72%|
|2||Westmorland & Lonsdale||23.8||87.13%|
|3||Ross, Skye & Lochaber||37.5||84.41%|
|11||Thornbury and Yate||14.8||71.56%|
|13||Leeds North West||20.9||69.04%|
|14||Bermondsey & Old Southwark||19.1||65.07%|
|15||Carshalton & Wallington||11.5||65.07%|
|17||Brecon & Radnorshire||9.7||63.72%|
|18||Kingston & Surbiton||13.2||63.45%|
|21||Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross||16.8||58.66%|
|22||Fife North East||22.6||58.27%|
|26||Sutton & Cheam||3.3||52.41%|
|31||Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk||11.6||50.03%|
|35||Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine||8.2||43.89%|
|40||Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & S.||18.6||37.85%|
So, we rate them of having over a 50% chance of winning each seat down to number 31. Which, neatly, matches the overall seat line of 31.5. So, if everything went exactly as our odds suggest, they’d have to be losing a seat like Portsmouth South if they are to go under the projected 31.5. They have a big majority there, but it’s a hard one to call; the controversy surrounding Mike Hancock makes this a very untypical seat.
The Scottish seats are also a problem – they mostly have very big majorities but the Lib Dem poll ratings in Scotland are woeful, thus giving the Tories a good chance of picking up seats numbers 31 and 35 on the list. Danny Alexander looks to be in big trouble in Inverness at number 40.
News such as Jeremy Browne’s decision to step down in Taunton Deane is very unhelpful to their chances. Many people are expecting the stickiness of long standing Liberal Democrat MPs to help them outperform their national poll numbers in terms of seats won. Their odds of holding the seat drifted from Evens to 5/4 today.
Iain Dale has a good seat by seat run down and predicts a final total of 28. One possibility he doesn’t seem to have taken into account is the chance they might win the odd seat that they don’t currently hold. A lot of good judges seem to think they can win back Watford and they are now favourites to do exactly that, making it their 44th most likely success.
Luckily for Nick Clegg, the rise of UKIP might actually be doing them a favour. Outside of Eastleigh and Portsmouth South, UKIP don’t look like a big danger to the Lib Dems in our top 40 list. In fact they may very well stop the Tories winning seats like Cornwall North and St Ives. No doubt plenty of Liberal voters in the South West will switch to UKIP, but if the Tories leak a higher percentage, that may see them hold on with lower vote shares.