There is a YouGov/Sun instant reaction poll of people who watched the debate (weighting to be a representative sample in terms of party support and attitudes to EU membership). Result was a pretty comfortable win for Farage: 57% think Farage did better, 36% think Clegg did better.

UPDATE: A long day, but a few thoughts about the Nick v Nigel debate. First up, remember that the vast majority of people didn’t watch it – to get 1000 people for our poll of people who were watching it we had to ask tens of thousands of people. Of course, that will be multiplied by people who didn’t watch the debate seeing the subsequent media reporting… but remember, most people didn’t see it.

Secondly, remember that this was not a zero game and in many ways it is not impossible for Nigel Farage and Nick Clegg to both come away with positives. While there is some crossover between UKIP and Lib Dem voters (the Lib Dems used to be the natural recipient of the “plague on both your houses vote” that now more naturally rests with UKIP), this wasn’t really a debate between two politicians seeking to win the favour of the same groups of voters. They had different reasons to be there.

Nigel Farage was there seeking to look like a serious figure leading a party that deserves to be taken seriously and be ranked along the other large parties. He was staking a claim for UKIP’s place at the top table. Clegg meanwhile was tying to put forward a positive reason to vote Lib Dem – Euro-enthusiasm is very much a minority pursuit in the UK, but there are a minority who are positive and enthusiastic about Europe and for a Lib Dem party hovering around the 10% mark in the polls it’s worth trying to appeal to them.

Meanwhile, tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun had topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 37%, LD 9%, UKIP 11%

249 Responses to “Clegg v Farage debate poll”

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  1. First. Tabs please.

  2. It will be interesting to see the party breakdowns.

    I have a felling Farage’s win could have more to do with Labour and Tory Supporters not liking Clegg!


  3. Peter,

    Nope. According to Twitter: “Labour supporters on who won the Clegg/Farage Debate: 42% Nigel Farage 51% Nick Clegg”

  4. Nameless,

    According to Twitter Barak Obama is an African!!!!!


  5. Why would you weigh it by attitudes to EU membership? Against what benchmark? Surely, that may have changed after the debate.

  6. Interesting, I had felt it was a proverbial game of two halves: a comfortable Farage win followed by a comfortable Clegg win.

    This is exactly why we do polls of ordinary people rather than relying on jaded political junkies’ dubious instincts.

  7. On who should take part in GE debates, I’m going to raise my oft-repeated view. There should be a slot in the debates for the leader of any party fielding enough candidates to win a majority if they were all elected. On 2010 candidate numbers, that would be Labour, the Conservatives, the Lib Dems, UKIP, BNP and the Greens. I expected the BNP won’t raise enough deposits this time.

    There should also be regional debates for Scotland and Wales with the leaders of their regional parties including PC/SNP debating.

  8. I wonder if the split would be 57/36 if the debate had been between Farage and a Clegg who had not the history of the Tuition Fees fiasco? I suspect if Clegg had been judged purely on tonight without that undermining background the result would be nearer 50/50 as that is how the debate came across when I listened to it.

  9. Was there a “haven’t a clue because I had better things to do” option?

  10. @MrNameless – That criterion would have seen 1997’s hypothetical debates joined by the leader of the Natural Law Party, simply because it had very wealthy backers who could afford to lose lots of deposits.

  11. Phil Haines

    We agree on that one.

  12. Well then that would have been right, because there was the option (if enough voted for it) to have a Natural Law government. Might have derailed the debates slightly but all in all I think it’s a fair system.

  13. If I read the tables correctly & my maths is working the debate didn’t change the opinion of the sample.

    That seems about right to me.

    No knock out blow.

  14. LD voters: Clegg 77%, Farage 20%, Unsure 3%
    UKIP voters: Farage 93%, Clegg 4%, Unsure 3%

  15. I think there will be some headlines on Farage’s closing remarks about Ukraine.

    I was really surprised when he said it, but on reflection he couldn’t really agree with any EU involvement in Ukraine , given all that he had said in the debate.

    But it was certainly a jarring note , given the general disagreement with Russia’s actions in this country.

  16. @ Tony Dean (FPT),

    I just think [Clegg]’s a closet Tory-type Nat Lib and doesn’t believe in the historic mission for a “Realignment of the Left”

    Which is ironic, considering he’s the Lib Dem leader who finally accomplished it.

    (I’m a big fan of Clegg myself- if only the Shadow Cabinet were working half as hard to secure a Labour majority!)

  17. @Peter Cairns

    “I have a felling Farage’s win could have more to do with Labour and Tory Supporters not liking Clegg”

    I have a feeling that SNP supporters dislike him just as much.

  18. I like how YouGov have entitled the tabs pdf “Messy”. Relax Anthony, it’s not that bad!

  19. I have a weak stomach & cannot bear to watch or listen to a modern politician for more than a few minutes.

    The leaders’ debates dominated the 2010 election which was unfortunate. We heard little from a wider range of politicians, which had the effect of shielding them from real scrutiny of the detail of their slash & burn economic & other policies.

    The counter-argument is that the average punter is not interested in detail; hence became more engaged, via the debates, than without ’em.

    Obama can be vacuous but has far greater rhetorical gifts than any Brit. politician. He avoids fake indignation, chides but never berates his opponents, is relaxed, & his mastery of the significant pause is unrivalled.

  20. @Robbie Alive

    “cannot bear to watch or listen to a modern politician”

    Can Farage be described as ‘modern’?

  21. Am I misreading the VI figures in that poll, or is it implying about a 1 pt lead for Lab? (I assume it’s GE VI, otherwise UKIP wouldn’t be on 9%!)

    I know it’s probably not the same sample as the actual yougov poll, but interesting nonetheless…

  22. I suppose people like Farage because of his corny man-of-the-people act: the beer & fag routine, when of course he’s v. rich & comes from the same background as Clegg, DC, Osborne.

    But he’s worked out, like Johnson who plays the buffoon, that people are bored with the characterless, play-it-safe clones.

  23. YouGov/Sun poll tonight – Labour lead back down to two points: CON 35%, LAB 37%, LD 9%, UKIP 11%

  24. Seeing clips of this debate on the News.

    What is LBC?

  25. Kudos to Clegg for taking part in a debate he was always likely to lose. The same can’t be said for the other leaders who didn’t take part.

  26. @Oldnat

    “LBC Radio (originally the London Broadcasting Company) operates two London-based radio stations, with news and talk formats.”

    “It was announced in January 2014 that LBC would begin broadcasting nationally on DAB digital radio format at 7am on 11 February 2014. The news also marked a new slogan, changing from 2007’s “London’s Biggest Conversation” to “Leading Britain’s Conversation” and dropping on-air reference to the London FM frequency.”

  27. Am I the only one who finds this talk of who won the debate to be entirely missing the point.

    I haven’t seen the debate but I assume they both won. They are fishing in entirely different electoral ponds. They are not trying to convince the other’s potential supporters. They are simply looking for a national soapbox to preach their own ideas to their target groups.

    It was free advertising. As long as neither of them peeled and are a baby in front of the camera, both of them won.

  28. Statgeek

    Ta. I’m disappointed, though.

    Clegg V. Farage debating in a gay studio would have been more interesting, perhaps.

  29. Andy,

    “Kudos to Clegg for taking part in a debate he was always likely to lose.”

    Sure, let’s put him up there with Custer and the Light Brigade!


  30. @Old Nat

    By “interesting” do you mean you’re imagining them both stripped, oiled and wrestling? I think even I’d probably need medical assistance to watch that.

  31. Anthony

    Since you have the figures for “EU referendum vote BEFORE the debate”, can we assume that you’re going to milk the publicity by delaying the results of the “EU referendum vote AFTER the debate”

  32. PostageIncluded

    I didn’t watch it, but I assumed that they were “both stripped, oiled and wrestling” already.

    Isn’t that how politics in London is normally conducted?

  33. Seems I am in here, but not on Newsnight.

  34. @Colin

    It was refreshing to hear a British politician clearly stating the culpability of the EU for the current events in the Ukraine. I think this will go down well with the British public, rather than the opposite.

    The EU’s imperialist ambitions in Eastern Europe are merely another version of the historical Drang nach Osten. The EU’s support for the neo-fascist putsch on 22/2/14 underscores its contempt for democratic values.

  35. No, I agree with you Lefty. I said ‘don’t know’ to who won before YouGov crashed on me. If they wanted to convince anybody, they both lost. If they wanted to see themselves on the telly, they both won.
    It was slightly interesting to see how they got on, and I can’t believe they did anything for the credibility of the political class, nor impressed anybody who wasn’t already a fan.

  36. Daodao,

    Meanwhile on the planet Earth!

    The EU had no imperialist ambitions in the East but was open to democracies that wished too joining the EU. As with the former Yugoslavia it had concerns about corruption and the lack of true democracy.

    There was no Neo-Fascist putsch at all but rather a corrupt President acting in an arbitrary fashion lost the support and backing of Parliament. The EU’s support for the opposition was little more than condemning the excessive use of force and calling for dialogue between the two sides.

    Trying to find a resolution to a crisis by and using the same democratic means as we do in Europe is hardly supporting a coup!

    The Ukrainian constitution allows parliament with a two thirds majority to remove the President if he is guilty of a crime or incapable of fulfilling his duties and to replace him with the speaker of parliament until elections.

    After he left the country and his post parliament determined overwhelmingly that he was no longer able to full fill his role and legitimately replaced him.

    There are some nasty thuggish elements on the right in the Ukraine and they would dearly like to be in the driving seat and are now more influential than they were but that doesn’t make Ukraine’s current government fascist.

    More of an issue is that far to many of Ukraine’s elected parliamentarians particularly the independents are corrupt. Many who were happy to back the President for their share of the spoils switched sides to save what they had already siphoned off for themselves.

    Ukraine has a long hard road ahead and it’s biggest obstacle is the state of it’s domestic politics and the institutionalised corruption. The EU will continue to offer support in turning that around as it has in Hungary, Bulgaria and Rumania but it is hardly Imperial ambition to want our neighbours to improve their democracy.


  37. Anthony,

    ” to get 1000 people for our poll of people who were watching it we had to ask tens of thousands of people.”

    Were thumb screws involved?


  38. Good analysis of the Clegg / Farage debate on Newsnight. It’s all about Clegg trying to finesse another 3% in VI out of thin air , which is what the LDs need to hang on to their MEPs, apparently. Will it work? IMO probably not.

  39. “Clegg meanwhile was tying to put forward a positive reason to vote Lib Dem”.

    As indeed he and Rennie were doing in tonight’s SLD PPB – having a businessman point out how easy it was to sell anywhere in the EU single market – just as you could in the UK.

    Someone failed to notice the policy mismatch with what they have been saying here for a long time!

  40. “tonight’s SLD PPB”

    I thought we were back in 1988 for a second there. I think at the point I’ve forgotten the special names for Alba parties, it’s time for bed.

  41. Mr Nameless

    At least with the Lib-Dems it’s the name of one of their Federal components.

    Scottish Greens are a different party from elsewhere in UK.

    SSP use “S” for both Scottish and Socialist, making them doubly incomprehensible to those who recognise neither term.

    With sLab and sCU it’s just a regional geographical prefix.

    No wonder it confuses you!

  42. I have previously been in favour of remaining in the EU, however my confidence in that has been severely shaken in that tonight. Why are those against independence always keen to put the country down, those against Scottish independence say it couldn’t cope and try to bully Scotland, those against British(English) independece say the same and it annoys me.

    Although I did feel uneasy regarding Mr Farage’s remarks on Ukraine.

    Where does this myth come from about their being a coup or that it was the protesters that removed Yanukovych?

    President Yanukovych lost a vote of no confidence in the Verkovna Rada, the Ukrainian Parliament. Out of a possible 350 MPs, 308 turned up to vote, 306 of whom voted for impeachment and 2 abstained.

    This measure is even in Ukraine’s constitution, there was nothing illegal about it, the parliament, who arguably hold the most power in Ukraine, that was elected in 2012 is still in power, they’ve just changed the guy wielding the rubber stamp, temporarily before elections in May.

    By some people’s logic, Maggies ousting in 1990 was an illegal coup, as the elected Prime Minister was removed from office, in fact it was even worse, she wasn’t even removed by the UK parliament in a vote of no confidence, she was removed by her own party, and the electorate had to wait 2 years for a say on the matter rather than 3 months as in Ukraine.

    Just because you win an election, doesn’t mean you are entitled to that post for the full term, this is why there are rules in place regarding votes of no confidence and impeachment. As long as they are followed nothing illegal has happened.

  43. I think the issue is less to do with the legalities of Yanukovych’s removal and more to do with US and EU officials instigating or encouraging opposition protests beforehand. Particularly those who did it openly like the shameless John McCain. Imagine if Russian politicians had marched with the Occupiers in New York, or the poll tax rioters in England?

    In that sense I definitely agree with DAODAO as far as the debate is concerned. We may or may not see Farage attacked in the media for his comments but they’ll be at odds with many of us lowly folk across the country who are perhaps as sick of western politicians interfering in their lives as many in Ukraine appear to be.

  44. Good early morning all.
    Very narrow Labour lead, again.

    On Russia: I agree with DAODAO.
    Anyone who knows anything about History will ‘get’ why most people in Russia are worried about western enlargement, or parts of the Russian sphere going West.

  45. DAoDao

    Funny you should say that-your name swam briefly into mind when he said it.

    Later the images were more disturbing -Farage doing that bare -chested macho Putin thing seated on top of a tank.

    Quite disturbing.

  46. CL1945

    @”Anyone who knows anything about History will ‘get’ why most people in Russia are worried about western enlargement, or parts of the Russian sphere going West.”

    The EU tried to explain to Putin that it isn’t one or the other.

    But he doesn’t see it that way.

    The policy borne from his stance is very very dangerous:-

    If there is a significant population of ethnic Russians in your country, I reserve the right to invade it.

  47. Morning Jim Jam. Approval -16 this morning.

    The gearing between this & VI is clearly high.

    But at some point it must surely move VI again?

    Would -10 produce crossover?

  48. Given the hostility of the comments here towards Clegg, it looks like plenty of people had made up their mind who was going to win before the debate took place.

    Clegg “lost” according to the poll because of the hostility of the sample of Tory voters and the lukewarm support from Labour supporters.

  49. OFGEM reportedly going to refer Energy companies to CMA today.

    This shoots EM’s fox I think-the examination will take two years.

  50. I think the general view (which I concur with) is that there is a general antipathy towards Nick Clegg and although YG asked respondents to put aside party perspective (like that is going to happen) this bias will come through in the results.
    The problems now is that the headlines are leading with a popularity contest rather than the pros and cons of the various arguments being made by both sides.
    Tabs & questions please!

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