A lot of comments here citing various voodoo polls from newspaper websites. Ignore them – they reflect the party allegiances of that website’s audience (the Guardian’s web poll has Brown second – shock! Daily Mail has Cameron first- wow!), do not attempt to be politically balanced or representative and are easy for interested parties to manipulate.

There were two properly conducted instant polls following the debate, carried out by YouGov and ComRes. Both show Nick Clegg winning, Cameron second and Brown last (YouGov has NC51, DC29, GB19. ComRes has NC 46, DC 26, GB 20). Angus Reid are also doing some polling, but it seems to be live overnight with final figures tomorrow.

The questions now are who people think is the winner once it has been filtered through the media tommorrow, and more importantly, what impact that has on voting intentions, how much of a boost will the Lib Dems get? Our first chance of getting a really good idea of that will probably be the polls on Saturday or Sunday.

There was also an instant Populus poll for the Times. Once again, it showed Clegg winning (though by an even larger margin that the other polls!), followed by Cameron then Brown – figures were Clegg 61%, Cameron 22%, Brown 17%.

328 Responses to “Ignore the voodoo polls, Clegg won”

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  1. Cameron has just announced a new initiative. On stage at a school in Nantwich with Gary Barlow, he said that a Tory government would introduce a national music talent competition. It will be called School Stars and it will involve local and regional heats, culminating in a national final in June 2011. The winners would get the chance to record a song with Barlow.

    Can somebody please tell me what is going on??

    Marchese/Matt – You were right upthread when you said this election has many more twists and turns to come.

  2. First, because Clegg won – he clearly did – doesn’t mean people will vote for his party.. He has by common consent run the best campaign so far but his support in terms of promised votes in the polls is way below the rest..

    Second, if there IS a swing to libdem who is it most likely to come from? The existing government or the opposition? If it comes equally from both, then I suspect the outcome will be even more likely to be a hung parliament.

    Brown seemed to agree more with Clegg than cameron in the debate. Whether he’s preparing to run a coalition, or merely trying to encourage tory votes to libdem is debatable. Probably a bit of both.

    Cameron I thought gave a rather poor performance.

  3. Lots of sensible comments about a Lib=Con pact.

    Cameron and Clegg are cut from the same cloth. Both nice affable guys who woul dnot wish to hurt or offend and would do their best to serve a broad church. Neither are dogmatic or ideologically driven. They are media savvy and in their own way cool. They both get 21st century urbania a bit more than Michael Howard and Charlie Kennedy.

    If you told me Nick Clegg was from Notting Hill- I would believe you.

    The only difference I suspect between them is Europe.

    You could conjure up other differences but most of them are just baggage either inherited from their own party.

    Gordon Brown is nautical miles apart from either of them.

    He is consumed with dogma, He harks back to the last century. He leans heavily on theory and philosophy. He is happier in a book than in a crowd. You could never pciture him in Notting Hill. He has more in common with Vince Cable.

    I would hate to be a Lib Dem on May 7th.

  4. Woodsman – are you serious? good grief!

  5. Woodsman-

    Please tell me that you are joking.

  6. Mike – ‘fraid so! ;-0

  7. Stifling of minor parties in debates
    The minor party leaders would have done well in terms of getting themselves extra votes where they need them most, as long as they did not expose their fanaticism. The Green girl looks nice and sounds nice. The BNP and UKIP blokes sound off the wall except to their own supporters.

    I feel for PC. They are essentially in a FPTP election where Wales’ own politics is still swamped, whereas in Scotland they are very well aware of who governs them and on what.

    I shall bow to Eoin (Ulster, sorry Eire UDI province :-) ) and Old Nat’s experience and knowledge on the latter situation. One feels that the Westminster election is a non-event now for voters in those nations, if it was not already.

  8. From the BBC live blog

    1123: A bit more on School Stars, the nationwide singing competition announced by David Cameron. Global Radio, the UK’s largest commercial radio group, is backing the scheme, Mr Cameron says, as are the British Phonographic Industry and UK Music. The contest will begin in the autumn, with the final due to be held in June 2011.

    I really can’t post my thoughts on this here, just unbelievable!

  9. Woodsman – ‘cones’ spring to mind.

  10. Éoin: why would you hate to be a LibDem on 7th May. Of course it’s risky to take responsibility, but it’s far better than being irrelevant.

    I view the last 20 years as being the LibDems’ “Long March”. We can’t run away now we look like getting close to the destination.

  11. I think that little exchange by Woodsman shows what is wrong and always was with the DC campaign. The fact that we half believed it would have Fred S back to tell us why.

    We thought this situation could arise, but I genuinely thought DC would wing it until polling day.

    But we could have another Event. Although not everyone has Sky, BTW, there will be the spins and also probably Sky has a good number of swing voters (true?).

  12. Steve D, Mike N –


    No further comment is necessary!

  13. Sounds like David Cameron is taking a leaf out of good old Tony Blair’s book (i.e. think guitar, cool etc.) Uggh, but I guess he thinks it will win him votes.

  14. I am beginning to wonder whether perversely, an increase in the Lib Dem performance might actually HELP the Conservatives to achieve that majority which I have previously said they will not manage.

    In the Lib-Tory marginals, I have always said that there will be little change. The Liberals will make net losses of a dozen or so and thats it. I haven’t changed my mind since the debate.

    But against Labour I have been convinced the Lib Dems would recede from their Iraq fuelled 2005 high. Now IF the Lib Dems would be to gain votes directly from Labou in many of these Labour-Tory marginals, it is likely that the the Conservatives could win seats that they might otherwise fail to take.
    It could be particularly significant in those seats further up the Tory target list where they need a 6%+ swing to gain.

    If Brown is the big loser of the debates as the first one seems to indicate,this now seems a clear possibility.

  15. @Shaun Bennett,

    You might be right.

  16. Clegg came over the best by far. I think he will mobilise huge support in the under 30’s group.

    But will this do the Lib Dems any good? Give them and Labour 27% each (Tories 37%) then Labour will still win 3 times the LD seats . 240 to 80.

    In fact give the LD’s 38% and Labour 26% (Tories 27%) and Labour will still win the most seats. Whereas 38% for Labour would give them a crushing overall majority.

    Clegg talked about fairness but give him his due, he didn’t mention the above which seems to be the overiding factor in any election.

    Percentages hardly matter because within a certain % range, say 25 to 40, Labour will still command 250 to 400 of the seats. The same cannot be said of the other parties

  17. Went to bed happy last night and in the warm light of day…

    NC has established his bridgehead. His overall sure-footedness and use of “you two” to describe the others secured his credibility and will be used effectively (as long as he does not overdo it) in future debates. Some say his Trident policy will leave him vulnerable, but think it can stand up under scrutiny. As a candidate for change, he is a greater danger to DC than GB. He has built on an what I had already detected as a favourable momentum in the few preceding days .

    GB yo-yoed between clunking- and ham-fistedness, in the process landing a couple of (Mandelsonian/Campellian) blows on DC (below the belt, some will no doubt say). One the airbrushing jibe, the other “It’s not question time, it’s answer time” but no KO by any stretch. His fraternal identification with NC obviously irked, but caused him no serious harm (my “him” deliberately ambiguous).

    DC started well but looked hurt more than once. He seems sensitive (too sensitive for a politician?) but compensates with public-school arrogance, which he (un)wisely repressed for the occasion – thin line between arrogance and conviction. He produced 2 gaffes – the China nuclear reference (reminiscent of one much-missed US president’s “nuking China” slip) and his citing of a “40 year-old black man”. If he had personalised it (cf. Joe the Plumber) it would not have left a slightly un-PC aftertaste to add to his gay-friendly shakiness, besides which it indicated either innumeracy or fantasy. (The man arrived in the UK when he was 6 and had been in the navy for 30 years – his sums don’t add up is a comment circulating on facebook).

    His performance confirmed my long-held opinion that he is unfit to be PM and I suspect this will become more widespread.

    Facebook and twitter will ensure that a Con to LD and to a lesser extent Lab to LD movement will be seen especially in the 18-24s (IMHO naturellement).

    A reminder that there is a series of ministerial debates coming up next week under the scrutiny of the much admired (by me at least) Andrew Neil. Unlikely to attract much attention, unless there is a serious gaffe. LD putative ministers need to be careful, though on past performance I don’t expect anything seismic.

  18. Andrew Neill on the Daily Politics just said there is a new post-debate ComRes/ITV voting intentions poll showing Con 36; LibDem 35; Lab 24!!!

    Anyone else heard that?

  19. Paddy Matthews (last night) – I completely agree with you that this site is much better than the others at being non-partisan. My problem is that it is much worse than it used to be, and I feel uncomfortable now because the comments policy asks us to ignore partisan posts. Most of them are therefore allowed to sit,unchallenged, stinking out the debate about polls and encouraging newcomers to exchanjge their views on political issues (rather on the polling effects thereof)

    I can’t ignore the partisan posts. Sorry.

    FWIW Clegg won because he interacted with the questioners in the studio and answered their questions , using the names of the questioners and stepping from behind the lectern to make a point.

    The other two simply launched into speeches.

    He also made a point of listening to the other two, rarely looking away when they were speaking, and never interrupting.

    He spoke into the camera, and related his answers to the electorate by using words like “you” rather than “people”

    All of those things register consciously or subconsciously with voters and gave him a boost.

  20. frm sky news website:

    Nick Clegg’s party enjoyed a 14% boost in support according to an ITV/ComRes poll.

    The poll of 4,000 people’s voting intentions put Liberal Democrat support at 35%, up 14%.

    The Conservatives were at 36%, down 3% compared to before the head-to-head studio debate.

    Labour was at 24%, down 3%, and others were at 5%, down 8% compared to previously.

  21. IMHO it appears DC is very comfortable with, life and Con leadership and even being prime minister when he is 15+ points ahead in the polls.

    Now things are no so certain, he seems to look indecisive and certainly not – on last night’s performance – ready to take on the world.

    Maybe he can become a judge on XFactor or whatever song competition he has launched post 7/5, afterall he’ll probably have the time.

  22. @Ash

    Guardian reporting that ComRes poll that gave:

    Con – 36
    Lab – 24
    Lib – 35

    Was of 4,000 people who had watched the debate. So it’s not necessarily a representative sample.

  23. @Ash

    Those were the raw data figures from a leaked source. Sky News just announced revised figures for ITV/COMRES

    Con 35
    Lab 29
    LibDem 24

  24. Ian McKay,

    “If a leader cannot dominate a 3-person debate, he’s frankly not much of a leader” ??

    I know plenty of ‘leaders’ who are terrible ‘debators’. What on earth are you on about?

    Is your boss at work a great ‘debator’? I know mine isn’t. Indeed I suspect he would be terrible on tv! He’s still bloody good at his job though.

    This debate WILL NOT alter the state of play by more than a point or two.

  25. @Shaun Bennett
    You wrote “The Liberals will make net losses of a dozen or so and thats it.”
    Crosby/Textor Poll published in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph doesn’t give weight to your prediction. Despite their pro-Conservative headline of “Big lead for Tories in 100 key seats” in the detail it was clear that in not one single Lib Dem v. Con marginal were the Cons ahead. That is the most vulnerable 20 seats currently ‘held’ by the LibDems with Cons as challengers to them. I was also astonished to read that in Labour’s most vulnerable 80 seats, the Conservatives were only ahead in 74 of them! This would result in Cameron with 284 seats (provided Cons did not win any further seats above the 100 most vulnerable threshold). 284 seats is nip-and-tuck level as to whether Labour or Cons are largest party using the prediction tool on this website. So, Shaun, what is your hunch based on?

  26. Tony, I don’t think that we can adequately measure the likely Lib Dem performance based upon poll rating and average swing.
    The Lib Dems doubled their seats in 1997 by FALLING 1% in share of the vote. That wasn’t picked up on average swing from the polling either.

    So Lib Dems could drop in vote share and not lose many seats, or they could increase in vote share and not gain many seats, or they could even drop in vote share and actually gain seats! All the polling ratings are irrelevant when it comes to predicting for the Lib Dems because its so heavily reliant on targetting. And that is something the polls can NEVER pick up.

    Now I’d be interested to see some individual constituency polls of Lib Dem held seats…

  27. Thanks Shaun, yes, put like that you may indeed have a good point. I was expecting LibDem net losses to the Cons before I read the Crosby/Textor poll of their 20 most vulnerable, and dare I say it, last night’s beauty contest! I agree, we really don’t know what is going on where the LibDems are targetting do we?

  28. I think it just sums up the reality tv watching millions, that based on 30 min presidential type debate the floating vote has shot over to Lib Dems. Does anybody even take the time to read the policies of the big three. Clegg used a simple psychology ploy of painting the other two as extremes and naughty children and himself as the parental middleman and voice of reason. Why don’t we dispense with an election and hold a phone poll – we’ll get a bigger turn out. My Grandfather’s generation gave up a lot for our generation in the world wars (lost 2 brothers and was wounded many times) and he was very philosophical in the last few years of his life but one thing I remember him say “future generations that have not know the hand of tyranny and oppression will hold democracy cheap”. Boy you can’t get cheaper that this election, the future of a country decided on 30 mins of TV.

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