The number of constituencies receiving their first visit from one of the main party leaders hasn’t risen quite so fast this week. It’s not that Cameron and co haven’t been out and about. Rather it’s that they’ve taken to paying return trips to constituencies, perhaps keen to shore up wavering support or – in Nick Clegg’s case – check to see whether any support is still there.
David Cameron has visited more seats than his counterparts: a total of 55, up seven from last weekend.
The list of Tory marginals runs to 23: 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, Camborne & Redruth, Croydon Central, Enfield North and Finchley & Golders Green.
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.
Cameron has still been to only five of his party’s Labour targets: Bolton West, Chorley, Exeter, Halifax and Birmingham Northfield. I’m frankly surprised he hasn’t taken his campaign more into these kinds of seats, but his strategy appears to remain focused more on the Lib Dem battleground.
He’s also been to Clacton, the seat of Tory-turned-Ukip Douglas Carswell; the Alliance-held seat of Belfast East; the safe Lib Dem seat of Yeovil; and the safe Tory seats of Gravesham, Calder Valley, Cities of London & Westminster plus his own seat of Witney.
His forays into the safe Labour seats of Cardiff South & Penarth, Salford & Eccles, Warrington North, Leeds Central, Edinburgh East, Manchester Central, Glasgow Central, Stockport and Holborn & St Pancras have all been symbolic rather than strategic.
Ed Miliband has now been to 43 seats.
Roughly half are 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, Ealing Central & Acton, Dewsbury, Stevenage, Cardiff North, Vale of Glamorgan and Stockton South.
He’s been to three of his Lib Dem targets: Hornsey & Wood Green, Cambridge and Bristol West. He’s also turned up in 13 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, Sheffield Central, Newcastle-upon-Tyne Central, Islington South & Finsbury and Cardiff South & Penarth
Milband has bothered with only one Labour seat that could be vulnerable to the Tories: Hampstead & Kilburn. But he has visited three Labour seats at risk from the SNP: 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 now been to 33 seats: an increase of just two on last week. But of all the leaders, he’s the one who’s made the most return visits.
He’s dropped in on a total of 24 different Lib Dem seats: 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, Brecon & Radnorshire, Sutton & Cheam and Manchester Withington.
His other visits have been to five Tory seats which, in a parallel universe, would be Lib Dem targets: Oxford West & Abingdon, Montgomeryshire, Watford, Devon Central and Maidstone & the Weald. He’s also been to a safe Labour seat (Stalybridge & Hyde by accident); and three safe Tory seats: Cities of London & Westminster to make two speeches, Battersea, where he launched the Lib Dem manifesto, and Filton & Bradley Stoke, by way of promoting the Lib Dem candidate in nearby Bristol West.
In fourth place is, as usual, Nigel Farage. He also added only two new visits this week, both somewhat perverse choices: the safe Labour seat of Hartlepool, and the safe Tory seat of Aylesbury. His overall tally is now 12, the other 10 being Rochester & Strood, Canterbury, Thanet South,Dover, Clacton, Thurrock, Great Grimsby, Boston & Skegness, Cannock Chase and Dudley North.
A total of 166 seats have now been visited by one or more of the main leaders, of which 25 have been visited by two. Only one – Cities of London & Westminster – has been visited by three.