On his last Clegg: Lib Dem leader to lose seat
Nick Clegg is on course to lose his seat to Labour in the general election according to another worrying new poll for the Lib Dem leader.
Today's poll by Lord Ashcroft puts Clegg on 34%, two points behind Labour on 36%. When Ashcroft last polled Clegg's Sheffield Hallam seat in November last year, he found Clegg three points behind.
Clegg remains convinced he will hang onto his seat however. When another poll in February also showed Clegg losing to Labour, the Lib Dem leader described it as "utter bilge". He also dismissed today's poll.
"I’m going to win," he said during a campaign event this afternoon. "The [Ashcroft] poll, as it happens, didn’t even mention the candidates names and our own polling where it does it always shows a significant uplift in our support.
"And just if you look at the way people have voted rather than what they’ve said to Lord Ashcroft since 2010 people in Sheffield has consistently voted Liberal Democrat. Of the 16 local elections we’ve had since 2010, we've won 14 since 2010, so I’m confident, not complacent, but confident we’re going to win."
Despite this apparent confidence, Clegg appears to be putting a lot of work into retaining the seat. Ashcroft found that 76% of his constituents had heard from the Lib Dems during the campaign, compared to just 52% across all Lib Dem battleground seats.
Today's poll also suggests that Clegg retains some personal loyalty from his constituents. When asked which party they plan to vote for, Labour holds a ten point lead according to the Ashcroft poll. However, when asked to think specifically about their constituency, Labour's lead in Clegg's seat drops to just two points.
This pattern was repeated across a number of other Lib Dem marginals. Of the eight seats polled, the Lib Dems were found to be behind in all eight. However, when voters were asked to think about their specific constituency, the Lib Dems retained a lead over the Conservatives in half.