The Lib Dems could be making a massive mistake claiming they’re on target to win Richmond Park tomorrow

November 30th, 2016

The Guardian

What would be good result getting very close will be seen as a failure

The big news on this final day of campaigning in the Richmond Park by-election is that the Lib Dems are claiming that they are ahead.

According to data made available to the Guardian the party’s current projection is:

Goldsmith 45.8%
LIB Dems 47.2%
LAB 6.2%

As I’ve argued previously you should treat all data like this as coming from a partisan source and should be regarded with great scepticism. We are being told this for a reason.

I must admit that I am somewhat astounded. If they come very close tomorrow then that could be seen as a failure not a good result given that Zac is defending a 23k majority.

We also know that MPs who resign to fight by-elections have a very good track record with only one failure in the last third of a century. Zac has a huge incumbency benefit.

There’s also the issue of credibility in the future. If the LDs lose then this will be quoted back at them for decades.

Maybe the idea is to fire up their huge activist base for the critical get out the vote operation but surely the same could be achieved by simply suggesting that this is very close.

Mike Smithson