— TSEPB (@TSEofPB) February 28, 2013
Michael Crick, the other day tweeted
From talking to more voters today I increasingly think UKIP could pull of a surprise victory in Eastleigh.They will certainly do very well
— Michael Crick (@MichaelLCrick) February 26, 2013
Whilst the Lib Dems were said to be
Lib Dems “feeling good” about Eastleigh but admit going to be “blooming close”. Senior source says they have got money on UKIP coming 2nd
Whilst this evening it was reported
— Matt Chorley (@MattChorley) February 28, 2013
And Mike Smithson tweeted a few hours ago
If punters have got this right #Eastleighis now a two horse race between yellow and purple.
— Mike Smithson (@MSmithsonPB) February 28, 2013
When David Cameron became the leader of the Conservatives in 2005, the Lib Dem majority was a mere 568, tonight judging by the betting sentiment the Tories may be pushed into third place, behind UKIP.
Given the circumstances leading up to the by-election, and the news agenda in recent days dominated by the sub-optimal headlines and responses about Lord Rennard, and the Liberal Democrats consistently poor polling in the national polling for the last few years, then finishing third will lead to speculation about the merits of the Cameron project.
If the Tories can’t win in Eastleigh in these circumstances, some will ask, how does this bode for the 2015 General election, especially after David Cameron’s speech on the European Union and the promise of a referendum, now that UKIP appear to be surging, something that Cameron’s speech was designed to reverse. Eastleigh is a seat the conservatives need to win in 2015, if they wish to have a majority.
David Davis has already said
“I think if we came third it would be a crisis, I think that’s the case, and if it’s a close second with UKIP on our tail it will also be uncomfortable.”
Finishing behind UKIP, could see the Parliamentary Conservative party revert to their past form which has been described as Papua New Guinea style orgies of cannibalism and chief-killing modus operandi when it comes to their leaders.
Now we wait for the declaration, which is expected around 2 am, for Dave, he must be hoping it isn’t his Götterdämmerung.