An important point, with graph to match, from PoliticalBetting’s Mike Smithson:
Chart showing how the total of Lib Dem seats has been or not linked to vote share from 1987 – 2010. twitter.com/MSmithsonPB/st…
— Mike Smithson (@MSmithsonPB) December 4, 2012
To illustrate the point further:
1992 general election:
Lib Dems won 5,999,384 votes, a vote-share of 17.8%, with 20 MPs elected
1997 general election:
Lib Dems won 5,242,947 votes, a vote-share of 16.8%, with 46 MPs elected.
Outcome: we lost votes and more than doubled our number of seats.
2005 general election:
Lib Dems won 5,985,454 votes, a vote-share of 22.1%, with 62 MPs elected.
2010 general election:
Lib Dems won 6,836,248 votes, a vote-share of 23.0%, with 57 MPs elected.
Outcome: we gained almost a million votes and lost five seats in the process.
Given the historic nature of the Coalition, history is not necessarily the best guide to the 2015 general election.
However, the lack of correlation between the size of the Lib Dem vote and the number of seats the party wins should also give those who write off the party more than a little pause for thought.
* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.