David Cameron and George Osborne’s campaigning is focused on seats the Tory party wants to hold onto, while Ed Miliband is taking the fight to seats Labour wants to win from them. That’s the view in Labour HQ, and they’ve got figures to back it up: Since 30 March, when the ‘short campaign’ began, Cameron and Osborne have made 61 campaign visits between them, Labour says. More than half have been to Tory-held seats, many of them on the ‘40/40’ list of seats that the Tories need to keep and win in order to end up with a majority.
Here’s where they’ve been:
Ed Miliband and Ed Balls, Labour says, are campaigning to take seats from the Tories, with three-quarters of their 67 campaign visits to Tory held seats.
Labour says it’s a sign of how ‘desperate’ Cameron has become that his rate of visits to Tory seats has doubled from five in the first week of the campaign to 10 in the last week. (But it does seem a bit desperate of Labour to stretch a week to include nine days when adding the PM’s visits up.)
The Tories need to shore up support in constituencies they already control – as Lord Ashcroft’s polling shows, they’ve failed to make much progress in seats they took in 2010, but that have then swung back to Labour. And the Conservatives need to hold every seat they had when Parliament dissolved and take another 21 seats for a majority.
Leader visits are more relevant to the national campaign than the on-the-ground battle that goes on in each constituency. Some local campaigns even discourage high-ups from making brief visits, so perhaps the places the PM and the Chancellor choose to visit aren’t all that important; except the Tories don’t seem to be making as much of an impression as Labour in their local campaigns either.