ComRes meanwhile have the result as 33% thinking Clegg won, and Cameron and Brown in equal second place on 30%. So Clegg ahead rather than Cameron, and a closer spread between the three party leaders than with YouGov’s figures. Angus Reid’s current figures also have Clegg ahead of Cameron by much the same margin (35% to 33% as I type, but they are not final figures), but have a much lower rating for Brown.

We have different polls calling different winners, but what is very clear is that Nick Clegg has not been the same sort of runaway winner with the public that he was in the first debate. This was a much closer run thing.

UPDATE: Since they are already cropping up in the comments, these three are the only legitimate instant polls of the debate I am aware of (though other companies may well deliver figures tomorrow morning). Other things, like the Channel 4 website poll, will be open access voodoo polls that will not be representative of wider public opinion… even if you prefer the result.

The final Angus Reid figures are Clegg 33%, Cameron 32%, Brown 23%

372 Responses to “…but ComRes have Clegg ahead”

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  1. @ Cozmo

    In terms of numbers, clearly a tie (33% each). If your asking what my personal opinion is, I couldn’t separate Cameron and Clegg. Brown however was terrible.

  2. FWIW we’ve had leaders debates here in New Zealand for the last couple of elections – the trend is generally the same as you’re seeing here – in the first debate, the smaller parties get a big boost of support; in the subsequent debates the major parties realise they can’t take them for granted and the element of surprise goes, but the smaller parties still perform well. Election before last a middle-ground candidate (Peter Dunne of the United Party) came from nowhere and his party more than trebled their support.

    If the NZ experience is anything to go by, the third debate will be like the second – very even with no clear winner of any of the three parties. The boost for LD will remain in the polls, maybe subsiding slightly but still well above the pre-debates level.

    FWIW, we also have proportional representation here, which means coalition governments all the time. With that system you soon lose the fear of a hung parliament and realise that it can work at least as well as a one-party government, often better.

  3. @ Christopher

    Boulton ‘bent’ the rules apparently to ask the question. He didn’t break it though.

  4. Brown delivered the best and worst line – “Get real Nick” and of course “…..woman, and you are one”.

  5. @ Paul Croft

    Hold up = won’t go lower than it is now

    I think that the tv shows have trivialised politics, people are using them as their sole means of deciding who to vote for rather than one of the means to do so.

    It is, as many have said, XFactor politics. This is not progress. The only people who win are the commercial tv stations.

  6. @James – totally disagree but no point going into details – Con supporters will claim Brown was terrible no matter what.

    I can admit Cameron did improve tonight, but it was from a very low base. Certainly not a clear winner, if at all.

    The Brown was fairly close as being the incumbent is a success.

  7. Just a note, AngusReid have now changed their ‘who won the debate’ to 33/22/34 (Con/Lab/Lib)

  8. I had a bet with my wife that tomorrow’s Sun would have the headline ‘THE CAM-BACK KID’

    That was five minutes before the debate started. Oh how sweet it would be for this paper once, just once, to not back an election winner. It would finish the influence of the Murdoch machine in the UK for good.

  9. @Matt,

    I read 100s of comments tonight.

    Your’s was the most balanced.

  10. @The Times…

    The headline… “Neck and Neck”….

    Ring Ring…

    Editor picks up the phone…

    “Yes Rupert, certainly sir, right away…”


    The headline mk II “Cameron Nicks it”…

  11. @Eoin,

    “I read 100s of comments tonight.

    Your’s was the most balanced.”

    Thanks. I was pretty impressed with both DC and GB tonight. GB was so much better than I expected. I thought he was pretty impressive actually.

  12. Channel 4 would have been a much better debate host than Sky. If there is a leadership debate next time then C4 should get that right rather than Sky.

    Sky were VERY blatant in their partisanship.

  13. @ Christopher

    I could best be described as a Conservative/Liberal Democrat floater. I prefer the Conservatives on the economy and defence. However, I prefer the Liberal Democrats on social policy and civil liberties.

    I hate Labour with an absolute passion. Nevertheless, I am objective enough to recognise that had the Labour Party kept Tony Blair as their leader, Labour would be well on course for a fourth term. Had it been Tony Blair instead of Gordon Brown participating in the TV debates on behalf of Labour, quite frankly he would have wiped the floor with Cameron and Clegg. One has to recognise that Blair is this country’s most accomplished politician since Thatcher exited the scene. Hated everything he stood for. I think my attitude towards him can best be summed up as “loathed but admired him”. Its like when I used to watch Steve Davis play Alex Higgins. I always rooted for Higgins, but had to concede that Davis was the better player. I just think that as skilled politicians, Cameron, Clegg, and Brown are nothing compared with Blair and Thatcher in their prime. Its a shame we didn’t have these debates back in the 80’s and 90’s. Windbag Kinnock and the dreadful John Major would have been absolutely awful. I think Paddy Ashdown would done very well though.

  14. James ‘ I hate Labour with an absolute passion’ – basically I stopped reading after that line – your opinion’s are so partisan tainted they don’t really belong here.

  15. @ Christopher

    And vice versa.

  16. portillo tonight

    even as a tory hes saying this election will be hung and will be the end of first past the post

    quite who is the major party in a hung parliament doesnt really matter he says

    and hes right

    if we get this hung parliament , its toast for the first past the post

  17. @ Christopher

    “Maybe being partisan but the fact that Brown came so close has to be seen as a victory”

    Definitely partisan and few would agree with you.

    You insinuated that I was a Conservative. Simply setting the record straight.

  18. @James

    ”I hate Labour with an absolute passioN”

    So I suppose you won’t be voting Labour then!!

  19. @christopher
    James is just being honest, and he is fairly objective in the rest of his post. And this is coming from someone who spent the afternoon stuffing campaign lit into envelopes at a Labour HQ. You should’nt ask people to disguise their party preferences, because then:
    a)you’re going to have to guess their agenda by the tone of bile in their post (POLITIAL BETTING anyone?!).
    b)You sanitize the debate to death

  20. EOIN

    any more thoughts on the tory lead to be 38 ?

    I think labour will push up a point or so in lijne with a jump in tory vote

    with libs staying the same

    so no real change ..but a bigger labour vote

  21. James,
    I hate Labour with an absolute passion.
    Not sure why you posted that it was not very helpful, but I do believe that there are so many more people who feel the same way about the Conservatives, and that democracy will prevail.

  22. @James – come on Brown being the incumbent was always going to be on the defensive – no massive gap between 1st and 3rd compared to last week has to be good for Brown – his rating’s also improved more than any other leaders this week – he tied on a couple of polls also.

    It’s just facts that even your passionate hatred of Labour cannot ignore,

    Rational contributors i’m willing to listen to and lets see if they would agree with my assessment – you don’t fall into that catagory.

  23. I’d agree with the majority of the polls, NC and DC roughly level and both ahead of GB.

    I think by the time this filters through to the polls we’ll be seeing something like what ComRes were showing, Blues in mid 30s and Red/Yellow both high 20s (not that ComRes were right then, I think that was a bit of a rogue, but that’s where we’ll be in a day or 2)

    Still very much hung parliment territory – it just depends on whether the marginal swing is enought to give torys the biggest no of seats or not.

  24. Regardless of the small variations in the post-debate polls, their fundamental message is that UK is shifting towards a genuine 3-party system with three roughly equal players. This is a major achievement for LD, a “bouee de sauvetage” for Labour, which otherwise would have been severely defeated by the Cons, and a hard test for the Tory party, that has to prove that it can swim in the waters of a 3-party system and PR, i.e. a more “European” version of politics.

  25. Was anyone else really suprised by the question regarding the catholic church by the way? I didn’t expect it to go beyond the recent peadophillia scandals and into wider church doctrine regarding science, contraception, homosexuality e.t.c. I thought cameron seemed taken aback by it a little, but handled it pretty well. However, clegg ducked it and brown retreated to more comfortable topics which was disappointing. Its a shame for brown (from MY point of view) because I think he had a good debate otherwise .It seemed a bit of a curveball to be honest but nevertheless, it made for good TV, and isn’t that what politics is for these days?

  26. Sky News @ 1.00 am

    Reporting in the headlines that in three polls Clegg is ahead and in two polls Cameron ahead.

    Calling it a score draw

    Also short comments from all 3 parties

    Therefore no obvious bias

  27. I could understand it last time, butI find it pretty hard to square these polls after debate, putting Clegg as the winner this time, when it was obvious he wasn’t.

    … and Brown 3rd???!!!

    Tried to take a step back and watch the whole thing again …..
    Still feel:
    Brown much better
    Cameron better
    Clegg ok

    Perhaps I should have seen it as a beauty contest in the style Arlene Phillips did on News Week :
    Clegg ….he’s yummy!
    Cameroon ….not bad for a toff
    Brown …boring old ###

  28. I thought both Cameron and Brown did better tonight but the Nick Clegg edged it just as the Comres poll suggests. However, with less interest in the 2nd debate I’m somewhat sceptical about its impact.

    Due to the scare tactics and negative campaigning by the Tories and the poorer economic news I’m expecting both Labour and the Cons to drop a point and the Lib Dems to improve by two points.

  29. @Peterbell

    There goes my fear of thatcherite, murdochian hellscape future for british news media. Setting aside my the bitter cynicism implit in my irony, really suprised they didnt call it for cameron. News outlets on both side have got away with worse….

  30. Just watching SKY (i know i’m a gutton for punishment) and Kay Burley’s reporting was probably the worst I have ever seen since John Sergeant was rugby tackled by Maggie Thatcher when she about to be defeated.

  31. Most people will only see edited highlights and so I imagine it’ll look pretty much like a three-way tie. That’ll leave things unchanged – with a continuation of the Tories sliding down and the LibDems climbing up.

  32. @Philip (1.10)

    “Due to the scare tactics and negative campaigning by the Tories ”

    I was surprised at the comment from Boulton re the gutter press reports yesterday. I was equally surprised that Nick dismissed it without defending himself when all the available info says that he did everything correctly (if unusually) in using his own account.

    This was an opportunity to show he was not guilty and it is not clear if he will get another chance. Therefore most of the electorate may asume the accusations are correct. I hope this does not affect the LD poll share and look forward to an increase in LD share from YG tomorrow.

  33. James:

    “I could best be described as a Conservative/Liberal Democrat floater”.

    Oh I dunno: I think I could do better than that.

  34. Thought it was a much better debate than last week which was truly dreadful. Both Clegg and Cameron were much improved but Brown looked just as bad/mad as last week. His clumsy sentence structure makes George W Bush sound like Lloyd George and was the clear and ovberwhelmong loser of the evening.

  35. One other thing. Did you see Alex Salmond in a total destruction job on Brown immediately after the debate.

    Brown must be thanking his lucky stars that they managed to carve that canny and gifted debater out of the debates.

    Salmond would have destroyed Brown.

  36. @Paul – LOL

    Never heard them described as that.

  37. @ Alexander
    ‘clumsy sentence structure’

    your winding me up now, going to bed! :-)


    Did you see Alex Salmond in a total destruction job on Brown immediately after the debate.
    No – I saw Alex Salmond behave like a little boy with his nose pressed against the window.

    He wasted his opportunity to make some real foreign policy points by seizing on the Labour leaflets smear story.

  39. I don’t know if anyone here cares to hear from a university student across the Atlantic, but watching the debate this afternoon I was really impressed by all of the candidates. Compared to the choices we have here in the US, they all seem to be fairly sensible. In the US the election of any of these gentlemen would be a welcome and radical change from our present circumstances. Our current President may be slightly better than the last buffoon, but on foreign policy he’s in some respects even more hawkish.

    Maybe there’s something I’m missing, but I really found Gordon Brown to be an affable person. I’ve never really listened to him at length before today, but I really don’t understand all the hate for him personally, even though Labour is fairly unpopular right now. To my American eye it seems like he has been unfairly demonized by the media.

    In my opinion, he clearly won the debate today and was much improved compared to last time around, which I thought was a big victory for Clegg. Cameron improved greatly, as well. It seems like Cameron has had a fairly good week, so maybe we’ll see some of that reflected in the polls.

    I was struck by the fact that Nick Clegg isn’t religious – in the US such an admission would destroy a campaign. I’m impressed that you can have an honest debate about organized religion in the UK – here it seems like the politicians bend over backwards to accommodate it.

  40. @ Amber Star

    I saw Alex Salmond behave like a little boy with his nose pressed against the window.

    Salmond isn’t a candidate in this election and who doesn’t even want to remain as a citizen of the UK. Yet no doubt he’ll be busy again tomorrow telling everyone how ‘irrelevant’ these debates are, after having watched every minute of it and threatening legal action over his exclusion.

    It even turns out his leaflet moan is hypocritical as SNP-run Fife council ARE considering cuts to free transport for senior citizens.

  41. Looks like that comres poll wont be seen as such a rogue after all, todays yougov moving in the same direction. Could be seeing the makings of a small tory majority after all. The debate tonight will only add to the slight movement away from the LD’s

  42. scotleag

    “It even turns out his leaflet moan is hypocritical as SNP-run Fife council ARE considering cuts to free transport for senior citizens.”

    I said I wouldn’t be back till after the election, but your posting of a total untruth requires a response.

    Officials of Fife Council, back in October, suggested that a cut back in concessionary rail travel should be considered. Not concessionary bus travel in any way.

    Councillors did discuss the proposal, as part of Budget planning, and rejected it. Have a look at the Fife Council website and you will see that the same concessionary travel proposals are in place.

    The critical point is, however, that Brown claimed to have authorised no leaflets based on scare stories about cutting concessionary travel. that was a terminological inexactitude.

  43. @American Observer

    Thanks for those comments. I’ve been enjoying trying to get a feel for how our election is playing over the pond. I noticed Morning Joe basically couldn’t get his head around our entire electoral system, which is comforting because most British people can’t either.

    I saw that the NYT gave Nick Clegg a very obliging write-up… I don’t suppose talk of our little upset has got too far in the chattering classes of the USA though?

  44. @ American Observer

    It has been a long time since politics in the UK – Northern Ireland aside – centred on religion to any great extent and even those with strong personal religious convictions are best advised to keep them to themselves. But debate on religion per se is not as open as perhaps you imagine. Our politicians – of whatever stripe – have to square the circle of secular small l liberalism with not upsetting the central tenets of organised religion. Any attempt for instance to abolish faith schools – as the French did over a century ago – would be a recipe for political disaster.

    Interesting you have such a high opinion of British politicians. “O wad some gift the giftie gie us tae see oursels as ithers see us.”

    Did you notice the PM ending tonight with a quote from a US President? “The buck stops here”

    There may be more similarities between Gordon Brown and Harry Truman than at first seems apparent. It’s not just that both took over from highly successful, long-serving election winners who led their parties out of a long period in the doldrums (though that’s about the only comparison you can make between Tony Blair and FDR) but Gordon Brown is going to have a ‘Truman’ moment in two weeks time.

    Either it will be like 1948 and a victory against all odds or a departure from office with a low standing in the polls. If it is the latter then there is at least the comfort that American opinion soon changed afterwards and Truman is now held in high regard historically.

    I hope for the former but believe if otherwise the latter will apply in this instance as well.

  45. @ old nat

    “The critical point is, however, that Brown claimed to have authorised no leaflets based on scare stories about cutting concessionary travel. that was a terminological inexactitude.”

    No, the critical point is that Brown claimed to have authorised no leaflets attacking the Tory party along the lines Cameron complained about. There was also the added bonus of Cameron making up policy on the hoof which, in the event of him becoming PM, is now on the record.

    Quite what that has to do with the SNP and Fife council I have no idea. Neither I imagine does Alex Salmond though I am sure that arch-opportunist thought he saw a chance to make mischief as usual.

  46. Just out of interest, are there any figures for the voting intentions of Tories in Lab/LD marginals? That offers an interesting dilemma, I’d imagine.

  47. scotleag

    Listen to Brown’s words again. He didn’t mention the Tories specifically. He used a much vaguer term “leaflets of that kind” (or similar words).

    Hence Salmond making the point that Brown had authorised exactly that kind of leaflet in his own constituency.

    Your partisan attacks on Salmond probably make you blind to an accurate textual analysis – your type of comment is why I withdrew from the site, and will now do so again.

    I have corrected your untruth – which is all I set out to do.


  48. @ Christopher

    I know it must be tough being a Labour supporter right now. Them being in third place and all that. Keep your spirits up.

    @ Paul Croft

    So could I!

  49. @ Simonkaye

    Nick Clegg has definitely received positive coverage in the American media, while it’s been mostly neutral on Brown and Cameron. The chattering classes haven’t said too much about the election, which isn’t unusual. Clegg, on the other hand, has become extremely popular on the American left since his victory in the first debate.

    Some of this is due to the fact that he represents the Lib Dems – the word ‘liberal’ in the US means ‘center-left’ unlike its usage elsewhere, so this alone gives him cursory support from the American left. There’s also the fact that Tony Blair and New Labour disappointed the left in the US by going along with Bush’s war, and the Lib Dems opposed it.

    There’s also secret (and perhaps tenuous) hope that a Clegg government would begin to draw down the war in Afghanistan, giving the US cover to withdraw. Finally, a lot of the American left wants electoral reform in the US after the 2000 debacle where Gore won more votes than Bush but the latter became President. Clegg is seen as delivering electoral reform, and he gets sympathy for this – even though it has nothing to do with the US system, it could be held up as an example for posterity’s sake. Brown is generally liked by the left, but he has the albatross of Iraq around his neck, even though he wasn’t PM when the conflict began. Cameron isn’t the first choice, but he would be a center-left politician in the US, so he isn’t disliked, either.

    @ Scotleag

    It could be that I’m afflicted by “grass is greener” syndrome, and British politicians certainly have their failings (expenses, etc.), but I think they are held to account much better than their American counterparts. Question Time and the smaller size of UK constituencies (versus US Congressional Districts) are two aspects of the British system that I wish we could import. Our Senate is highly unfair, as a state with 500,000 people like Wyoming has as much influence as a huge state like California. I would be in favor of abolishing it completely, but unfortunately, my position is not in the mainstream.

    I think the comparison of Truman and Brown is an apt one – both men can be considered political fighters. The odds are probably long for Brown, but the Lib Dem surge has been a gift – and he might just hold on.

  50. After some reflection, I do think GB gave a pretty decent showing. I think if you could strip away the last 3 years of right-wing press hate, he would not be so unfairly ostracised in comparison to the other two. He came across more honest somehow. Most of what he said was, basically, ‘solid’ stuff. Not exciting, but not waffly either, whereas Cameron and Clegg certainly do seem more fluff. You get the feeling what he says is more meaningful.

    Of course, he has a lot of baggage now and I think that clouds all perceptions of him, including my own. It takes a real effort to try and ‘stand outside yourself’ and be truly objective.

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