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  1. Politics
5 May 2015

Will Nick Clegg lose his seat?

Can Nick Clegg retain his seat? The polls paint a complex picture. 

By New Statesman

Will Nick Clegg lose his seat? The Liberal Democrats have held Sheffield Hallam since 1997, and Labour have never won it. There was never any real chance of a serious challenge from the Conservatives, who came second at the last election, finishing 15,284 votes behind Clegg.

Labour have never won the seat, and their chances of taking it were considered remote until a November 2014 poll by Lord Ashcroft, the billionaire pollster,  showed Labour narrowly ahead of the Liberal Democrats in Sheffield Hallam, with 30 per cent of the vote to Clegg on 27 per cent. Another Ashcroft poll in March of this year confirmed that Clegg was in trouble, with Labour still ahead by 36 per cent to 34 per cent. And in April, Clegg still trailed according to Lord Ashcroft, 36 per cent to 37 per cent.

But an ICM poll this week put Clegg comfortably ahead, with 42 per cent to Coppard’s 35 per cent. The big difference: ICM’s poll named the candidates, while earlier polls just asked a voting intention question. The Liberal Democrats say that Ashcroft’s method doesn’t accurately gauge their strength in individual constituencies – Ashcroft disagrees. But we won’t know who is right, and whether or not Nick Clegg can keep his seat, until the votes are all cast on Thursday.

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