Some of you might be wondering just how it’s possible for the Liberal Democrats to increase their share of the vote, albeit by only 1% or so, but to then have lost several seats. The point you have to bear in mind is that because of the way they get squeezed, bashed and generally thrown about by our rickety old first-past-the-post system, there isn’t actually a huge correlation between how many votes the Liberal Democrats get, and how many seats they end up with.
To illustrate this, I’ve knocked up a graph showing the percentage share of the vote they received and the percentage share of the seats that got them, for every election from 1970 through to 2005. Look at when they got their best increase, in 1997, when they advanced from 20 seats in 1992 to 46.
That was their reward for losing 1% on their share of the vote.
Given that, why would you expect them gaining 1% in their vote share to give them a good night?