We’ve cut the odds on the Greens out-polling the Lib Dems in 2015 from 5/1 to 4/1 today. That follows last night YouGov poll which put the Greens ahead.

Pretty staggering considering that at the last general election the Liberal Democrats got twenty five times as many votes as the Greens. There’s a good Telegraph article here which highlights some of the main issues behind the Green rise in the polls.

I think there are a couple of factors which would make me slightly wary about taking the 4/1 though.

1. How many candidates will they stand? In 2010, the Greens stood in just 310 UK constituencies i.e. under half. This time they are reported to be aiming for three quarters, which would be something around 490. No matter how bad things get for the Lib Dems, I’m sure they will still be on the ballot in the 631 seats outside of Northern Ireland (and the Speaker’s seat).So the Greens would have to get 28% more votes per seat contested than the Lib Dems to outscore them nationwide. That might not be as difficult as it sounds; presumably the seats they won’t contest will be the less favourable ones for them anyway.

2. Will they fade away in the campaign? If the current TV debate proposals go ahead, then Nick Clegg will be in two of the three debates. The Greens won’t feature in any. The Green’s most skilled media performer, Caroline Lucas, will be busy trying to hang on to their one seat in Brighton Pavilion (she’s currently a marginal favourite), so the face of their campaign will be leader Natalie Bennett, who hasn’t convinced everybody yet.

 

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 26: Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (R) and UKIP (UK Independence Party) leader Nigel Farage, hosted by LBC’s Nick Ferrari, take part in a debate over Britain’s future in the European Union, held at 8 Northumberland Avenue on March 26, 2014 in London, England. Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage will go head to head in the first of two debates about whether Britain should stay in the EU. (Photo by Ian West – WPA Pool / Getty Images)

 

Just over two years ago, Ladbrokes opened a market on which of UKIP and the Liberal Democrats would get most votes at the next general election. We made UKIP 5/1.  Today, for the first time, they are now favourites to out-poll the Lib Dems.

YouGov’s latest poll has UKIP ahead 14-8. Survation has it at an incredible 22-7.

There are many reasons for thinking that the Liberal Democrats will recover and UKIP drop down. But the lead that UKIP have had for many months shows no sign of diminishing right now.

Most people will scoff at the idea that the Liberal Democrats could win any new seats at next year’s general election. But, according to political punters, they have a few chances. Here are five of the most interesting possibilities:

1. Montgomeryshire. Conservative majority 1,184

In terms of the odds, this was the biggest shock result of the 2010 election, as the Tories wiped out a 7,000 Lib Dem majority. Perhaps this was not entirely unconnected to the identity of the sitting MP, Lembit Opik. Some are expecting a turnaround with a new candidate.

2. Watford. Conservative majority 1,425.

A desperately tight three way marginal; the Lib Dems easily retained the mayoralty last month. In Lord Ashcroft’s constituency specific polling, they were just 5 points behind the Tories.

3. Oxford West & Abingdon. Conservative majority 176.

Another relatively surprising loss in 2010, this seat will certainly still be a target for the Lib Dems, although the Ashcroft polling puts them 11 pts behind the Tories.

4. Ashfield. Labour majority 192.

It might seem extremely improbable that the Lib Dems could gain a Labour seat in the current circumstances but, if there is to be one, this could be it. The local party did an incredible job getting so close in 2010 and, based on the betting we’ve seen, have not given up hope here.

5. Maidstone & The Weald. Conservative majority 5,889

The least likely in our list, but Ladbrokes have seen money for the Lib Dems to oust sitting MP Helen Grant. She hasn’t been without her critics and the Lib Dem vote seems to have held up in local elections here.