Tuesday, 22 January 2013

How ‘sticky’ are Liberal Democrat MPs?

Liberal Democrat MPs are ‘sticky’ – and that’s official.

It has long been known that, once they are dug in, Liberal Democrat MPs are more difficult to dislodge. Newly-published academic research of general elections between 1983 and 2010 has now quantified this phenomenon.

The research, reported by PoliticalBetting.com, shows that Liberal Democrat MPs enjoy a large incumbency factor worth between 5% and 15% of the vote. Labour and Conservative MPs, by contrast, have incumbency advantages of only about 2% and 1% respectively. This Liberal Democrat ‘stickiness’ has changed the outcome in up to 25 seats at each general election, and probably prevented the Conservatives winning an overall majority in 2010.

Now that the Liberal Democrats are in a coalition government, we don’t know how strong the incumbency factor will be at the next general election. But the party’s performance since 2010 in local elections in Liberal Democrat-held constituencies suggests that our MPs have not lost their stickiness entirely.

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