As postal voting is about to begin……

As postal voting is about to begin……

Top 5 postal voting seats 2005 Postal ballots issued LAB-LD swing required 2010
Newcastle North 45.4% 8.5%
Stevenage 45%
Rushcliffe 39.9%
Newcastle Central 36.7% 11.5%
Newcastle East 35.4% 10.5%
National average 12.1%

…is this why Cleggie headed first for Newcastle?

I was very struck on Friday with the oddness of Clegg’s travel schedule on the day after the Sky News debate in Bristol. On the face of it you would have thought that he’d have headed out to some of the key seats his party is fighting in the south-west.

No so. Instead he took a charter plane to Newcastle upon Tyne and then headed back home via Norwich.

Then I remembered the postal voting rates in Newcastle where his party controls the city council. Just look at the table above to see how out of kilter this form of voting was at the 2005 election in the city’s three seats compared with the national as a whole. Newcastle held three of the top five places out of the 646 seats fought at that election. Amazing.

Given you can register to be permanently on the postal list then it’s a fair assumption that the level could be equal or even higher this time and Clegg had to get to Newcastle to wave the flag for his party just before voting started.

It’s perhaps an indication of their ambition that Newcastle North is 78th on the Lib Dem target list.

What’s crazy is that while pundits are talking up the final debate on Thursday by then a pretty large chunk of the electorate might have already vote. Clegg’s Lib Dems are still on a high – why not make the most of it?

Mike Smithson

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