Friday, January 27, 2006

The Scores on the Doors

The lastest numbers of supporters listed on the various Lib Dem leadership candidates web sites are:

679 Sir Menzies Campbell

660 Simon Hughes

424 Chris Huhne


Susanne said...


Good you are keeping tabs. I got lost counting them.

Martin said...

There are 457 actually listed on Simon's site. the 660 only appears on the front page.

Stephen Glenn said...

Well two of the sites keep tabs themselves so I used their figures I had to count Huhne's

Susanne said...


You are funny at times. Give Rob a chance to transfer the data over from one site to another and other data records.

You know as well as I do he's very articulate in making sure what is what is accurate

Angus J Huck said...

I'm glad I don't have to wade through egg yoke anymore to get to Simon's site.

Gosh, Simon must have patience! If Crick had spoken to me the way he spoke to Simon at Manchester today I'd certainly have lost my rag!

In the end, it isn't the number of names on websites that determines elections, it's rank-and-file members voting.

Previous internal elections have shown that the higher a candidate's national profile, the more votes he/she will get.

In 1999, Malcolm Bruce, with hardly any endorsements, did better than Jackie Ballard, with loads. And look back to the first SDP internal election in 1983. Polly Toynbee got something like 25% of first preference votes, simply because she was one of the very few candidates ordinary members had heard of.

All of this helps to explain why Ming will win, and Simon will come second. Chris will score a highly creditable performance and will doubtless be a front-runner for the eventual Campbell succession.

(PS: Anyone for dunking Crick in the Mersey? Or sticking him in the gooey yellow substance which has been removed from Simon's website?)

Nicholas said...

Yep, indeed it is 458 not 660 on Simon's website (Ann Lejins and Karl Lindon have got squashed together so that's probably why Martin got 457). Presumably there is some good reason for it but the discrepancy adds to the impression of muddle (for me anyway).

Endorsements are important for people like me, who are slightly but not intensely engaged with the party, and know which of the more intensely involved activists, who have a better personal knowledge of the candidates, can be trusted. That, and those who are even less engaged are probably impressed by endorsements from MPs. It's one of the reasons I support Huhne - quite simply, I know and like more of his endorsers personally. But you're right that it is not a decisive factor in and of itself.

Having said that, I think Paddy Ashdown was the underdog going into the 1988 contest, and won by almost three to one.

Rob F said...

Just to confirm that the supporters list on Simon's site is a week old snapshot - it's not being generated from the database yet. It will be later today.

Things to note - not only a large number of MPs, but also a very large number of councillors, and a very large number of council and council group leaders as well as a very large list of activists. This demonstrates Simon's support right across the activist base in the party.

Martin said...

I guess that might be the case. And to be fair there was a comment to that effect at the top of the list.

Angus J Huck said...

Paddy Ashdown certainly wasn't the underdog. I cannot remember anyone believing that Alan Beith would win. Almost all ex-SDP members voted for Ashdown. Beith's support came mainly from older Liberals (who knew him better than Paddy).

Rob F said...

OK, the new supporters list is online at

Susanne said...

Martin you are full of jokes - I've got a name. Rob has done a great job and I'm assured there's more to come. He got a lot of tricks up his sleeve so keep watching the site

Angus J Huck said...

I have noticed several names on Simon's supporters' list which appear twice (and quite a few back-to-front).

Curiously, Duncan Brack appears on both the Hughes and Huhne lists.

A rough estimate of the Hughes list (gross) is 664. Remove the duplications, and it is probably around the 630 mark.

What, if anything, does all this tell us?

Well, Simon certainly has more support among ordinary members than Chris, and possibly more support among activists and councillors than either of his opponents.

But it is ordinary, rank-and-file members who decide leadership elections. Jackie Ballard had an impressive phalanx of councillors and activists behind her, but she still got less than 8%.

Thank goodness the old SDP/Liberal rivalry is now well and truly consigned to the history books. There are ex-SDP people in all three lists. In 1988, almost all ex-SDP members voted for Paddy Ashdown, while Alan Beith was seen as the "Liberal" alternative.

Nicholas said...

I don't see Duncan Brack on the Huhne list. There may well be other duplicates, but he isn't one of them.

As for 1988, I guess I was projecting my own memory a bit too widely; I certainly started out intending to vote for Beith myself and only changed my mind after reading the candidates' election literature.


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