Lord Ashcroft’s latest constituency research has found that eight marginal seats in the Liberal Democrats’ battleground are at risk of falling to Conservative or Labour, with party leader Nick Clegg 2% down in his constituency.
Five Lib Dem seats in North Cornwall, North Devon, St. Austell and Newquay, St Ives and Torbay constituencies see the Tories taking second place.
Cambridge and Clegg’s seat of Sheffield Hallam, both notorious Lib Dem areas, see a challenge by Labour. Clegg is two points down in the seat he has held since 2005.
In Cambridge, the party have established a clear lead over Labour, despite them being a point ahead in September.
The Conservative-held seat in Camborne and Redruth is also found to be seriously challenged by the Lib Dems.
Despite this, in the five Lib Dem seats targeted by the Conservative party, 47% of those who voted Lib Dem in 2010 said they would do so again this time.
Business Secretary Vince Cable – among the favourites to succeed as party leader – insisted Mr Clegg was in no danger of being ejected by local voters.
“I’m absolutely certain Nick Clegg will win his seat and return as leader of the Liberal Democrats,” he told Sky News.
“One of the problems with the Lord Ashcroft polls is they don’t actually name the candidates and I think when the full position is revealed, he will be back and he will be comfortably returned and he will return as our party leader.
“I have no doubt about that.”
Clegg also has the highest contact rate in Sheffield Hallam, with 76% of voters saying they had heard from his team, while only 53% had heard from the Conservative team.