For many in the Lib Dem camp, the excitement around the so called “Lib Dem Fight Back” at the start of this election period was so electric that some were predicting the Party would win 50 seats. But now, less than a month until election day, pessimism is rife in the yellow camp, as the expected rise has simply not come, with polls showing that the party is flatlining at around 10% of national support.
There are a number of possible reasons why things haven’t paid off so far. The relentless focus on fighting Brexit may not be as appealing a message as was hoped. Negotiations with Brussels are not yet underway, and the mood of the country seems to be closer to “let’s wait and see” than “let’s do a U-turn.” There is also the problem that the Lib Dems as a brand are damaged from both ends of the spectrum. For many on the left, they are still the cretins of coalition, who enabled Tory cuts for five years in Government. For many on the right, they are a bunch of “remoaners”, trying to thwart the will of the people on Brexit. Then there is Farron. He isn’t bad, but he isn’t a revelation either, and small parties need leaders who can spark more inspiration in voters than Farron can
The flatlining in national poll numbers is not even the Party’s biggest worry. Unlike Labour, the Lib Dems aren’t soworried about their overall share of the vote. Instead, they have been relentlessly prioritising target seats, and if they win 25 seats on 10% of the vote, they will not care one dicky yellow bird. But even in target seats, things are not looking good at all. Notwithstanding all the broader issues already raised above, there is the unfortunate problem that most of narrowest target seats are against the Tories, not Labour – who are a much more vulnerable opponent.
It’s not over, but it certainly doesn’t look good for Tim’s team.