Election campaign

Leaders’ campaign visits: the totals so far

Over 100 constituencies have now had the pleasure of a visit from one of the four main party leaders.

Almost half of those visits have been in the shape of David Cameron, whose total now stands at an impressive 48.

His campaign plan remains unchanged. He has continued to concentrate mostly on two types of constituencies: marginal Tory seats, and Lib Dem seats where the Tories are challenging.

The list of Tory marginals he’s visited now runs to 21: Oxford West & Abingdon, Sherwood, Newton Abbot, Wolverhampton South West, Plymouth Sutton & Devonport, Dewsbury, Brentford & Isleworth, Kingswood, Loughborough, Stockton South, Harrow East, Swindon South, Warwickshire North, Crewe & Nantwich, Weaver Vale, Warrington South, Pudsey, Bedford, Lincoln and Camborne & Redruth.

The Lib Dem-held targets have been Dorset Mid & Poole North, Chippenham, Cornwall North, Devon North, Cheltenham, Solihull, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Brecon & Radnorshire, Kingston & Surbiton, St Ives and Colchester.

By contrast, Cameron has been to just four of his party’s Labour targets: Bolton West, Chorley, Exeter and Halifax. He’s also been to Clacton, the seat of Tory-turned-Ukip Douglas Carswell. But I really don’t think the Tories have a chance of taking any of these places, and Cameron’s visits have been more symbolic than strategic.

The same can be said of his trips to the safe Labour seats of Cardiff South & Penarth, Salford & Eccles, Warrington North, Leeds Central, Edinburgh East, Manchester Central, Glasgow Central and Stockport, the Alliance-held seat of Belfast East, and the safe Tory seats of Gravesham, Calder Valley plus – of course – his own seat of Witney.

None of the other leaders currently comes close to matching David Cameron’s total.

In second place is Ed Miliband, who has now been to 33 seats.

Just over half have been on Labour’s list of Tory targets: Sherwood, Morecambe & Lunesdale, Warrington South, Pudsey, Blackpool North & Cleveleys, Bury North, Kingswood, Keighley, Elmet & Rothwell, Colne Valley, Loughborough, Lincoln, City of Chester, Wirral West, Ipswich, Nuneaton and Ealing Central & Acton.

He’s been to only two of his Lib Dem targets: Hornsey & Wood Green and Cambridge. He’s also turned up in 10 safe Labour seats: Coventry South, his own seat of Doncaster North, West Ham, Manchester Central, Leicester East, Alyn & Deeside, Croydon North, Leicester South, Leeds Central and Sheffield Central.

Milband hasn’t bothered with Labour seats that could be vulnerable to the Tories, perhaps because he believes there aren’t any. But he has visited three Labour seats at risk from an SNP surge: Edinburgh East, Edinburgh South and Ayr, Carrick & Cumnock. In addition he’s made a speech in the safe Tory seat of Cities of London & Westminster.

Nick Clegg has been to 31 seats so far, and he’s sticking with an itinerary comprising largely of places being defended by Lib Dems.

There have been 22 of these in all: Solihull, Dorset Mid & Poole North, Eastleigh, Dunbartonshire East, Chippenham, Cornwall North, Cheadle, Cardiff Central, Hazel Grove, Kingston & Surbiton, Bath, Sheffield Hallam, Colchester, Carshalton & Wallington, Bermondsey & Old Southwark, Hornsey & Wood Green, Gordon, Portsmouth South (notionally a Lib Dem seat, despite Mike Hancock’s expulsion), St Ives, St Austell & Newquay, Twickenham and Brecon & Radnorshire.

There have been five somewhat bold trips to Tory seats the Lib Dems have almost no chance of taking: Oxford West & Abingdon, Montgomeryshire, Watford, Devon Central and Maidstone & the Weald.

Clegg’s other four visits have comprised a safe Labour seat (Stalybridge & Hyde by accident) and three safe Tory seats: Cities of London & Westminster, where like Miliband he made a speech, Battersea, where he launched the Lib Dem manifesto, and Filton & Bradley Stoke, by way of promoting the Lib Dem candidate in nearby Bristol West.

What of Nigel Farage? He said this week that he thought he’d spent the first half of April trying to pack too much into the campaign, and had consequently scaled back his visits. This is certainly reflected in his running total, which is only two higher than last week. He finally got round to dropping in on Mark Reckless in Rochester & Strood, and turned up in the safe Tory seat of Canterbury for little reason than to have his photo taken trying on silly hats in a shop selling historical clothing.

These two visits bring his overall total to just 10. The other eight seats have been Thanet South, Dover, Clacton, Thurrock, Great Grimsby, Boston & Skegness, Cannock Chase and Dudley North.

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Discussion

4 responses to ‘Leaders’ campaign visits: the totals so far

  1. I was clearly wrong to assume LDs should hold Bristol W as Ashcroft Poll just out shows easy Labour gain. Also shows potential UKIP gain at Thurrock and potential Con regain at Rochester&Strood.

    • Up to now I’d also assumed the Lib Dems would hold Bristol West, thanks to Labour and the Greens splitting the anti-coalition vote. Labour will be happy with its prospects here.

  2. While they are still highly unlikely, the Tory seats Nick Clegg has visited are probably the least unlikely of Lib Dem gains (Watford is a genuine possibility, and the other seats have probably between a 1% and 5% chance of electing a Lib Dem MP). They are the sort of seats the Lib Dems could easily win in 2020, after five years recovering on the opposition benches.

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