If I could take back one recent prediction, it regards Jo Swinson and the Lib Dems. When this campaign started, I thought they would benefit from extra exposure, particularly for their Revoke stance on Brexit – divisive for sure, but clearer than Labour’s muddled offering. 20-25% seemed realistic.
As it transpires, the Lib Dem in the last three polls ranged from 11-15%. In London – prime Remainer territory – just 15%. Swinson has failed to cut through or gain advantage from her contrast with two deeply divisive male rivals for PM. With hindsight, the writing was on the wall once she was excluded from the first leaders’ debate, and their odds continue to drift in the Political Betting.
Seat totals are significantly reduced
Could this be an over-reaction and perhaps misreading of the true picture? The Lib Dem share may simply be falling because Remainers are wising up to Labour being a better tactical choice in their constituency. They are doing much better in the small number of constituency polls on seats they are targeting.
Local Strength Is Usually Their Key To Defying National Swing
This has always been the Lib Dem way. They haven’t the resources for a truly national campaign and always get squeezed for airtime during general elections. Yet they have always been adept at local level in their strong areas and pulling off upsets in by-elections.
Better, therefore, to focus on the specific races. Remember their starting position in each was achieved on a dismal 8% vote share. They are liable to rise even without any enhanced Brexit effect.
They start with 12 seats, four of which look vulnerable – North Norfolk, Totnes, Carshalton and Wallington, Westmoreland and Lonsdale. In the last three, they are represented by the longstanding MP with a local following. I reckon they’ll keep at least two.