For that reason Labour is throwing everything at it in terms of resources and manpower. Decapitate the Lib Dems of their Tory-tolerant leader and you reduce the chances of another Lib-Con coalition at a stroke. An Ashcroft poll in March showed a massive 20% swing to Labour, which would be enough to put the Labour candidate just over the line first on May 7th.
However on Sunday when Andrew Marr challenged Vince Cable that his leader Clegg might lose his seat, Cable let slip that he had seen more recent private polling and that was not going to happen.
Here’s why I don’t think Labour is going to succeed. The history of decapitation strategies is not good, everyone in politics over 40 remembers the “Portillo Moment” when Michael Portillo, the much tipped leader-in-waiting for the Tories, lost his seat in 1997. That was more by accident than design and is the exception that proves the rule. It is hard to beat an incumbent who is high profile and on television almost every night of the election campaign. Voters like it when their local MP is high profile and being deputy PM is penultimately high profile. So Clegg has that crucial name recognition factor in his favour.
The myth that Sheffield Hallam is a student seat is Labour propaganda, in fact it is a mostly rural seat covering the south-west corner of Sheffield. Wealthy and one of the richest constituencies outside of the south-east, it was a traditionally Conservative seat for decades. There is an obvious related reason why Clegg isn’t going to be unseated by Labour.
The Tories are not putting up a real fight in a seat they can’t win, in fact a former Tory candidate for the seat is openly urging traditional Tory supporters to tactically vote for Nick Clegg. For all these reasons my biggest bet of the election is on Nick Clegg being returned and making me a 53% return in 3 weeks on the 8/15 favourite.
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