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Third Force PoliticsLiberal Democrats at the Grassroots$
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Paul Whiteley, Patrick Seyd, and Antony Billinghurst

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199242825

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0199242828.001.0001

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Electoral Performance and Prospects

Electoral Performance and Prospects

(p.137) 7 Electoral Performance and Prospects
Third Force Politics

Paul Whiteley (Contributor Webpage)

Patrick Seyd (Contributor Webpage)

Antony Billinghurst

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins by looking at long-term support in elections and in the polls for the Liberal Democrats, to see how it has evolved over the last half-century or so. This provides a context within which to judge the party’s future electoral prospects. The analysis of trends in Liberal Democrat voting intentions over a thirty-year period shows that the competitive situation between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats is significantly greater than the competitive situation between Labour and the Liberal Democrats. It also shows that the party has to wait for its main rivals to make political mistakes and lose support before it can profit by winning over voters. This is described as the political equivalent of ‘waiting for Godot’, meaning that the Liberal Democrats are not the masters of their own electoral fate.

Keywords:   Liberal Democrat Party, local campaigning, elections, votes, Labour Party, Conservative Party

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