Educational issues have a particular salience amongst 2010 LDs
2010 LDs more likely to back LAB on education than current ones
The paramount objective of the Lib Dems is to minimise seats losses at the general election and the argument with Gove on free schools helps in a number of ways.
What we are talking about is niche marketing, sending signals to significant groups of electors in the seats that will matter to the party.
In the key CON-LD battlegrounds the party believes that opposing Gove will reinforce LAB>LD tactical voting. In many constituncies these are hot issues locally and today’s move helps with party positioning.
In the smaller number of LAB-LD battlegrounds where sitting MPs are particularly vulnerable the free school issue gives them a base to reinforce anti-CON credentials and could minimise the expected attrition.
Gove personally is second only to George Osborne as the Tory cabinet minister least liked by LAB and LD voters as we’ve seen in different polls over the past year or so.
So the area where Clegg wants to create clear yellow water between him and his coalition partners is one which the party hopes will be beneficial.
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