by Stephen Tall on December 7, 2009
Mark Hunter, Lib Dem MP for the Cheshire seat of Cheadle since 2005, could be forgiven for smiling like his county’s proverbial cat this morning.
Today’s Times reports that the Tories are scaling back their expectations of election victory in the light of a slew of polls showing the party’s support dipping:
The Conservatives are digging in for a six-week election campaign and are quietly withdrawing resources from some “landslide” seats to maximise David Cameron’s chances of winning a workable majority.
The well-sourced article highlights just one example of a constituency where the Tories are giving up the fight:
Cheadle, currently held by Liberal Democrats with a majority of just under 4,000, is among seats no longer regarded as likely to fall despite a well-funded, two-year campaign to woo key groups of voters.
But the Cheadle example, says The Times, points to a wider trend that Lib Dem MPs are going to prove difficult to shift:
Party strategists privately admit that some incumbent MPs, particularly Lib Dems, are putting up fiercer-than-expected resistance.
This conclusion is, of course, very much in line with the findings of the most recent PoliticsHome poll of marginals, reported here on LDV, which showed the Lib Dems – even on the basis of its summer 2008 poll ratings – well-rooted in the seats the party needs to do well in.