Will Nick Clegg hold onto his Sheffield Hallam seat next year? No, according to internal Lib Dem polling which has been leaked to the Guardian. ICM have now released the full tables, which outline the fight Clegg and the Lib Dems face in 2015. It’s worth noting sample sizes are small — 500 were polled in each seat compared to 1,000 in Ashcroft survey this weekend. But here are the most important details:
While Clegg held onto his seat comfortably with 53 per cent of the vote in 2010, the ICM snapshot suggests that if there was a general election tomorrow, Clegg would come third behind Labour and the Tories:
In other key seats for the Lib Dems, the picture isn’t any more cheerful. In Cambridge, held by the prominent backbencher Julian Huppert, the Lib Dems are currently in second place — thanks to a 17 point increase in Labour’s vote since 2010:
The Lib Dems took Redcar from Labour at the last election (who held it since 1974) but the polling suggests that Ian Swales — the party’s Treasury spokesman — will lose the seat. Again it is Labour, with a 13 point rise in their Redcar vote share since 2010, who are doing most of the damage:
Vince Cable’s PPS Tessa Munt also looks set to lose her seat, albeit with the Conservatives pushing her into third place. Munt surprisingly took Wells in Somerset four years ago with an 800 majority over the Tory incumbent David Heathcoat-Amory. According to the ICM polling, she would lose her seat back to the Tories in an election tomorrow, with a 20 point lead:
In a possible hint as to whom commissioned this polling, ICM also asked whether a different Liberal Democrat leader would improve the party’s standing. Happily for the enemies of Clegg, Vince Cable would have the most positive effect in the four seats (on average, around eight points) while Danny Alexander would also do well, adding another five points on average.
As Isabel blogged earlier, Clegg’s office are trying to smoke out the anonymous pollster. We’ll see if the British Polling Council force ICM to say who it was, or whether they will remain anonymous. Either way, this ‘member of the Liberal Democrat party’ knows how the make headlines by asking the difficult, potent questions.