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    The Lib Dems were never to the left of Labour; during the New Labour years they simply chose to place emphasis on a couple of issues on which they were. On general economic matters they have always been more 'conservative' than Labour.
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    (Original post by MagicNMedicine)
    Really the Lib Dems lost because tuition fees was a totemic issue for them and a large part of their support voted for them on it, and they compromised on it.
    And even for people who did not care about the issue, the fact it was so widely identified with them as a party meant that delivering it determined their credibility.

    I suspect most Lib Dem voters - they got over 20% of the vote which was spectacular - turned against them because they were weak, not because of the specifics of their manifesto.

    Reading some of the accounts of the Coalition from Lib Dems after it seems that Clegg was never that keen on that policy anyway and so he was ready to cut it, which was probably a miscalculation. Although I can see it being very difficult to get the Tories to join a Coalition taking free tuition on board.
    Absolutely. The Orange Book faction were always at odds with most of the Lib Dems' members and their electorate, and probably would have fit better in the Tories anyway.
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    I suspect most Lib Dem voters - they got over 20% of the vote which was spectacular - turned against them because they were weak, not because of the specifics of their manifesto.
    The general held view is that most Lib Dem voters are anti-Conservative and so would not forgive them for joining with a Conservative government which they hated. This might well explain for a large amount of the fall in their vote share but not necessarily the marginal votes that influenced changes in seats.

    However, they lost 49 seats: 27 to the Conservatives, 12 to Labour and 10 to SNP.

    So the majority of their losses went to the Conservatives which is not consistent with the idea that Lib Dem voters all turned against them because of hating Conservatives. Those 27 seats were mostly traditional Tory seats (in Thatcher's era) that had gone Lib Dem rather than Labour in response to the general decline of credibilty of the Tories during the 1990s and early 2000s.

    In those, they saw the Conservatives were back in government and Lib Dems were supporting that anyway, so maybe old style true bluers went back to the Conservatives.

    The interesting part is what will happen in those seats if Conservatives lose popularity - presumably these are anti-Labour areas rather than anti-Conservative, so the response might well be switching to Lib Dems by default if there is any loss of enthusiasm for the Conservatives.
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    (Original post by MagicNMedicine)
    The general held view is that most Lib Dem voters are anti-Conservative and so would not forgive them for joining with a Conservative government which they hated. This might well explain for a large amount of the fall in their vote share but not necessarily the marginal votes that influenced changes in seats.
    True to an extent but the problem was how the Lib Dems seemingly merged into the Tory party rather than the coalition as such.

    If they had said, "We will do a deal with the devil - who will likely govern as a minority without us anyway - if we get X, Y and Z.". If they had actually got X, Y, and Z, ideally with lots of Tory backbench squealing, they could have sold that to their voters.

    They could not sell becoming the left wing of the Tory backbenches.

    However, they lost 49 seats: 27 to the Conservatives, 12 to Labour and 10 to SNP.

    So the majority of their losses went to the Conservatives which is not consistent with the idea that Lib Dem voters all turned against them because of hating Conservatives. Those 27 seats were mostly traditional Tory seats (in Thatcher's era) that had gone Lib Dem rather than Labour in response to the general decline of credibilty of the Tories during the 1990s and early 2000s.
    Can happen just due to vote splitting.

    E.g.

    LD - 40
    Tory - 35
    Labour - 20
    Other - 5

    goes to

    LD - 30
    Tory - 35
    Labour - 30
    Other - 5
 
 
 
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