Is this where the battle is really going to take place?
With all the recent focus on Scotland perhaps it’s worth reminding ourselves that the vast majority of the key battles that will determine whether Cameron’s Tories have a working majority are in England.
Last time all but four Tory seats were in England. That total might increase next time if current poll trends remain but still it will be England that dominates.
Of the 650 seats to be contested next time this is the split:-
England – 533 seats
Scotland – 59 seats
Wales – 40 seats
Northern Ireland – 18 seats
At the 2005 general election the Tories came out as the top party in terms of votes in England – but just look at how the seats split. Michael Howard’s party chalked up just 194 English MPs against Labour’s 286 on fewer votes.
To get a sense of the coming battle just scan through the Tory top 200 target list as prepared by Anthony Wells at UKPollingReport. According to my quick count there are about 30 Welsh and Scottish possibilities but they are dwarfed by the 170 in England.
In England, of course, the battles are mostly three-way whereas in Scotland and Wales there are four main parties. To apply a simple uniform national swing across the three segments has always seemed to me to be crazy.
What we need are England-only polls so we can make proper projections.