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. @Colin
    “OFGEM reportedly going to refer Energy companies to CMA today.
    This shoots EM’s fox I think-the examination will take two years.”

    On the contrary:
    1. Official confirmation that there is a perceived problem with energy pricing – despite the denials yesterday.
    2. Yet in the meantime nothing to change for more than two years.
    3. And even then no guarantee that anything effective will come out of it.

  2. AW: I think, as with the budget, the importance and effect will not be influenced by the people who watched but by the media narrative thereafter: whether ‘Farage ‘winning’ the debate effects those kippers who had drifted back to Con; whether Nick Clegg ‘loses’ bursts the myth of his debating superiority and further demotivates the LibDem faithful, as there is no longer much prospect that his involvement in a GE debate will have the same effect as in 2010.

  3. @ Phil Haines

    Re Energy company prices/profits.

    I agree that this does appear to prove Ed Milibands point. In 2009 the big 6 made £233 million profit and this grew to £1.1 billion by 2013, without any evidence of efficiency measures.

    This does appear to prove that the coalition have allowed the energy companies to increase their profits, for no apparent reason. If this was due to additional green measures, efficiency measures or the companies having to invest in infrastructure, then it would be understandable.

    If the OFGEM competition inquiry reports before May 2015, this could be helpful to Labour. I suspect that any report will not be released until after May 2015, because often such reports cannot be released near an election.

  4. It might have been instructive for both leaders and the Westminster bubble that is currently inflating them if the poll had a ‘I don’t care one jot what Farage or Clegg think about anything’ option.

    Especially for the former and his online fanatics.

  5. @R Huckle

    The Government will not want the OFGEM report to come out before the election, but there are risks inherent in delaying it; should the Tories lose, Labour will use it in what will doubtless be a formidable barrage of ‘here is the enormous pile of stuff the Tories got wrong’ propaganda.

    I’m not sure the Right is really prepared for the level of payback Labour have planned in return for the ‘Labour crashed the global economy’ guff that they’ve emitted, although I suspect Osborne is aware he’s fighting for his political life (he is going to get blamed for *everything* by both sides if the Tories lose).

  6. A very fair summing up of the EU Debate strengths and weaknesses by Nick Robinson on his BBC page. If that is the typical reporting, then both leaders will have gained what they set out to gain, as he points out. On a personal note, there is indeed a weakness on the LD side as having a ‘final in / out’ referendum was long its policy, about which I have strong views, although not expressing them here of course. The other issue mentioned was the reality of the immigrant situation, on which Farage is weak, says Robinson, but not for the majority of voters, who would believe Farage even if the facts contradicted his views.

    Regarding the YouGov instant poll, the result appears to reflect exactly what one would expect, as a majority of voters dislike Clegg and fewer dislike Farage and one can add the partisan element of course. A poll of the two issues Robinson mentioned would probably mirror the overall poll result.

    Anybody hear a different take from a reporter, such as ITN’s Carver?

  7. Colin

    Yes good news about the referral to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) as a result of the review requested by the Energy Secretary. It’s what’s needed and as you say is more good news for the Government.

    I think the Tories will also be encouraged by todays YouGov with Labour lead still well down on its level before the budget and Prime Ministers lead over EdM up to 37:19 and increase of 5 points. From Labour’s point of view they will be encouraged by the fact that so far they have not lost the lead after what continues to be seen as a good budget.

    It will be interesting to see any other polling on the Farage?Glegg debate which i have not really followed.

    Finally very concerned for the elderly if the NICE guidelines are changed as is being suggested.


    If we are looking for “nasty thuggish elements” we need look no further than Crimea.

    Specifically the “militia volunteers” of the Samo-Odbrana…..and the murder of 39 year old Tartar Reshat Ametov .

  9. TOH

    Yes-I noted EM’s rating slip this morning in YouGov’s Poll.

    I have no doubt EM will try-as he did yesterday in HoC, to keep the narrative of his initiative on Energy going & to link it with the OFGEM referal.

    But the fact that the CMA study will bridge the GE seems to remove Ed’s energy initiative from any alternative policy offer.

    I read the NICE report too-and with as much trepidation as you did .

  10. HOWARD

    @” the reality of the immigrant situation”

    Merkel is making noises about expelling jobless migrants , as I understand it.

    When Germany speaks in the EU , we know that things can change.

  11. Whats interesting about the national polls is that the Labour position hasn’t changed at all. The Tories have benefitted from gaining a few percent back from UKIP but its clear that the budget hasn’t been the transformational event it was billed as – at least from a VI perspective.

    The key battleground remains Tory vs UKIP. We know from Ashcroft polls that Labour are doing better in target marginals than nationally. The question is how the Tory/UKIP split goes in Tory marginals.

  12. Here is the latest update to You Gov VI, by 2010 voter ID.

    It looks like Labour have lost a touch from 2010 Con and Lab, and little more from 2010 LDs.

    The Conservatives continue to show a consolidation of 2010 Cons from UKIP.

  13. Hey guys,

    Shows you how out of the loop I’ve been that I just heard that Tony Benn passed away. Wanted to send you guys my condolences. He lived a good, long life. May he rest peacefully.

  14. Colin
    Yes, indeed, and I note from the Belgian and Dutch press that they are throwing out the sponging ne’er-do-wells on the same basis. Only a few hundred qualify, mind, which is the point that Clegg brought over to Farage, AIUI.

    It was ironic of course that it took the EU commissioner to point out to governments that they were entitled to do this and it did not need any new EU legislation.

  15. HOWARD

    Your last paragraph says so much about the way the EU operates !

    I thought Clegg did OK last night-but in the next one I feel he has to act in a less “magisterial” way -not deigning to look at NF etc.

    He seemed so typically “Eurocratish”. I don’t think that “we know best” attitude goes down well with bolshy Brits. :-)

  16. Socal
    Welcome back, anything we should know abt the ’16 presidential yet, especially how is Hils positioning herself ?

  17. Colin

    The one downside to the CMA referral is, that like EdM’s planned freeze, it is likely to have a negative effect on planned new energy capacity investment.

    On yesterdays SSE aanouncement, apart from the loss of jobs and the cut back in investment in renewables by that company, it’s planned freeze rate is still bettered by a number of other energy providers. One or two year price freezes are nothing new of course I’ve used them in the past several times.

    On another issue Labour duly signed up to the planned Benefits Cap although a few Labour members voted against. I look forward to a proper explanation of where they are going to get the funds to cover [some of their benefit pledges (reworded to avoid an inevitable back and forth, as obviously some will justified on the grounds that they don’t believe they do cost any money)- AW]

  18. TOH

    @”. One or two year price freezes are nothing new of course I’ve used them in the past several times.”

    Yes- I have constantly wanted to scream that at the tv throughout the whole of EM’s initiative.
    ” If you want a freeze-go on to U-switch & get one ” !

    On your second point, IDS has made much of that.

    Having voted for it they will now have to be wary of any impression that they will ignore it in practice.

  19. This is very interesting & shows why GO’s target in the Budget pension/savings measures was politically astute.

  20. Osborne is a very good political strategist! And I say that as a leftie…..

  21. @ Colin

    Can you explain the energy profits increase from £233 million in 2009 to £1.1 billion in 2013 ?

    If Ed Miliband as a previous Energy minister had not raised this issue, it would have been a missed opportunity. The cost of living has been increasing and energy costs are part of this.

    The energy price freeze was just a way to highlight the issue and an easy way to stop the increases. Who knows with fracking and new supplies opening up, it may be possible to reduce energy costs and not just freeze them.

    Take the politics out of this and just look at it from a human point of view. We have elderly and vulnerable people afraid to put their heating on, as they could not afford it. ALL politicians should work together to ensure that energy prices are as low as they can be.

  22. @ TOH

    “it is likely to have a negative effect on planned new energy capacity investment.”

    I’m not sure if I have asked this before on here but, not really understanding how the energy companies work, I’m not at all clear on what “investment” they do.

    Most of the production side investment (like the new nuclear power station) seems to involve government subsidising and agreeing a contract with the energy companies so that aspect must be unaffected by what the energy companies are allowed to charge customers. So what is it they invest in that is their choice to do or not do and not covered by statutory obligations?

  23. @COLIN
    @”. One or two year price freezes are nothing new of course I’ve used them in the past several times.”)
    Yes- I have constantly wanted to scream that at the tv throughout the whole of EM’s initiative.
    ” If you want a freeze-go on to U-switch & get one ” !”

    Odd then that Mr Cameron was so incensed & the energy companies declaring that Labour’s policy would mean the lights going out.

    The day after Miliband made that speech, the energy firms were offering deals that froze prices until 2016 but this was ignored by the media who seemingly just wanted to make a political attack on the Opposition because they had scored a huge ‘hit’ with the electorate.

  24. “I’m not at all clear on what “investment” they do.”

    I believe they invest in their directors’ pension pots.

  25. What happened to Cameron’s promise to make Enegry suppilers put all their customers on their cheapest tariff?

    [Assuming this is a factual question rather than a partisan point, the powers were given to the Secretary of State in Section 139 of the Energy Act 2013, which got royal assent in Dec 2013 and came in to force last month. Presumably it is now up to Ed Davey (assuming it comes under his dept) to pass orders changing the terms of companies licences to enforce the rule. The legislation sets out a required consultation first (although that can be started before it comes into force) and a period for Parliament to consider the orders, but essentially it is chugging through the wheels of government – AW]

  26. @ROGERH

    “I believe they invest in their directors’ pension pots.”


    Plus they can “invest” in hoovering up more of the market, and energy supply. This allows the to grow the business, and increase prices (while hiding energy costs) all while keeping headline profits low and increasing energy capacity.

  27. …all while keeping headline profits low and WITHOUT increasing energy capacity.

  28. I’m not sure but didn’t some on here point out that customers fixing prices wasn’t a panacea because you don’t freeze at the current price or summat. If you had taken advantage of deals fixing prices over the last few years, maybe you could save a bit, but overall, prices are still massively up on what they used to be.

    Plus, the price freeze isn’t the main thing, but acting on the market for more competition. Be interesting to see polling on whether voters were more impressed by the freeze or the market action.

  29. Also, as the big firms hoover up more of the supply, they can potentially inhibit new entrants since they can decide what they want to charge new entrants for the energy.

  30. Well if we are going to look at energy prices and companies why stop there!

    If the big six controlling 95% of the market needs investigating what about food.

    The top six; Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrissons, Waitrose and now Aldi/Lidl make up 0ver 80% of sales.

    Then theres cars; Ford, Vauxhall, Nissan, VW/Audi, Peugeot and BMW account for over 50% of UK Car sales!

    But worst of all; Labour, Tory and LibDem account for a huge 96% of all MP’s!!!

    It’s high time these big three (okay 21/2) were broken up to improve competition in the public interest.

    Why we could start by hiving off different parts of the UK,


  31. R Huckle

    No-I cant. the enquiry will hopefully.
    I agree that it should be a non-political issue-but inevitably it is -like most things.
    I acknowledge EM’s role in bringing the issue to the fore.
    His Energy Minister has just said on DP that they would press ahead with a price freeze if in power ( which is credible I think 0 , but also press ahead with market “reforms”. That looks like clinging to the wreckage, because the enquiry will be ongoing.

  32. ”[some of their benefit pledges (reworded to avoid an inevitable back and forth, as obviously some will justified on the grounds that they don’t believe they do cost any money)- AW]”


    Well, it’s a bit more nuanced… I think most would accept without argument that it is entirely possible for the government to spend money without making much in return, it can even cost more, say in the case of outsourcing that winds up costing more because of management fees etc., and knock-ons like MRSA, especially when profits get invested elsewhere rather than here.

    Meanwhile, government can reduce the benefit bill WITHOUT having to make cuts to benefits themselves. E.g. a housebuilding programme, that takes some off benefits and cuts more off the housing benefit bill. If it encourages private investment then this can give further return in terms of growth. (This is before considering how benefits get spent in the economy, assisting growth).

  33. Peter Cairns (SNP)

    Nice one Peter, LOL.

  34. @TOH

    “On another issue Labour duly signed up to the planned Benefits Cap although a few Labour members voted against. I look forward to a proper explanation of where they are going to get the funds to cover”

    I thought this was obvious. At least some will be covered by steadily increasing the minimum wage in real terms, reducing the state’s subsidy of poverty wages. There’s an effective campaigning line to run here – how do we make work pay? IDS’s strategy of cutting access to and level of benefits, driving people into poverty and forcing them to rely on foodbanks; or reducing in-work benefits by increasing wages to a level which can actually support a family without also needing the state to contribute.

  35. shevii

    re your question

    £43 billion was invested by energy companies in the UK economy in the last 4 years, through spending on power generation, networks, and gas storage and important facilities. This amounts to greater investment than any other sector.

    From a report by Ernst & Young for Energy UK this year.

  36. Fascinating retail sales figures for February – no, really, I mean that.

    The ONS says sales were up a sharp 1.6%, which was well ahead of expectations. It is also counter to member surveys by both BRC and CBI, which both showed falls of over 1%.

    The ONS data isn’t entirely positive though. They revised down the January sales, from an already very poor -1.5% to -2.0%, so we can now say that retails sales have fallen so far in 2014. The three monthly figures looks better, but once December drops out, the quarterly figures might start to look quite shaky again.

    The ONS also reported an actual fall in retail prices, for the first time in a long time. To date, everyone has been pumping up the low inflation figures as good news.

    While it is good news for consumers in the short term, the inflation data is much more of an indicator, rather than a causal factor. It’s worth noting that inflation is below the BoE target, and there are good reasons why we have an inflation target that is well above zero. Declining retail prices demonstrate weakness in consumer demand, rather than any underly!ng economic strength.

  37. @ToH

    What’s the spending on new capacity versus hoovering up existing capacity and on supply?

  38. Carfrew

    Sorry you will have to look it up yourself I’ve better things to do this afternoon.

  39. Carfrew

    Probably best to ask EdM, he was Energy Secretary when the big 6 were consolidating their market poition.

  40. Lol, Howard. You usually have better things to do, that’s a given!!

    There must be some new investment, because of all those windfarms that fail to happinate Colin…

  41. @Peter Cairns (SNP)

    “The top six; Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrissons, Waitrose and now Aldi/Lidl make up 0ver 80% of sales.”

    Aldi certainly compete, as their prices and suppliers are very different to Tesco and Sainburys. Not sure of the others.

    “But worst of all; Labour, Tory and LibDem account for a huge 96% of all MP’s!!!”

    There’s no accounting for taste. :-p

  42. carfrew

    I’ve told you who to ask. I am sure he has an answer. If you think I’m going to waste a lot of time trying to answer a question you can research yourself. Why not do so, you seem to have the time.

  43. It means nothing, but having not followed the Farage/Clegg debate at all, I then saw the extensive coverage given to it as the BBC’s main item on the 10pm news.

    Two things struck me. Firstly, how it was presented as a historic event, being the first time that two party leaders had openly debated membership of the EU for several decades.

    Secondly, how well Farage came across. In terms of meeting his own needs, he won hands down. He didn’t even particularly have to win, but just appear to be a serious and credible option, and in my view, the BBC report met those demands.

    The single most telling point I felt, was Farage’s somewhat devastating put down regard the Euro. Following Clegg’s attempt to defend EU membership based on 3 million jobs depending on it, Farage was shown simply to reiterate that this is precisely why we told we _had_ to join the Euro, and what jolly good luck it was that we ignored it then.

    This is the nub of Farage’s appeal. Everyone _knows_ that leaving the EU would be a complete disaster, but logically, how can other independent nations like Norway and Switzerland get by quite happily not being members. This doesn’t add up. We’ve also been told that not doing things like joining the Euro would be disastrous, which has been patent nonsense.

    On the other hand, there are very, very few people who actually think the EU is well run and efficient. It may have net benefits to the UK, but it is shot through with problems, which very few people seriously try to defend.
    At the same time, it is thoroughly resistant to reform.

    I think this debate in right on Farage’s turf, and he appeared to win convincingly, on many levels.

  44. Lol Howie, no one insisted you answer… you said I should ask Ed M though, and having anyone ask a politician probably constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. On both sides, possibly…

  45. Apparently as part of the government reforms my utility company (First Utility) has reduced the choice of tariffs to four. They then proposed transferring me onto what would worked out as the most expensive one.

  46. ALEC

    @”Declining retail prices demonstrate weakness in consumer demand, rather than any underly!ng economic strength.”

    At present they demonstrate that fuel prices continue to fall.which is unequivocally good news for consumers .

  47. @ TOH

    Thanks for the tip. I did look at the report but it didn’t say anything about the statutory obligations or the effective government subsidy (in the nuclear power station build this takes the form of guaranteed prices).

    In general it seemed more like an Estate Agents flyer promoting up the industry.

    I’m not knocking the fact that you at least found a source that might be credible- just that it doesn’t answer the question about what they invest in that they don’t HAVE to do by law or by getting a contract from the government that the government is pushing for and subsidising.

  48. @ Peter Cairns
    “The top six; Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrissons, Waitrose and now Aldi/Lidl make up 0ver 80% of sales.”

    Profits/prices/shares of Tesco, Sainsbury & Morrisons have collapsed recently [discounting is rife] So is yr ironical comparison with the energy companies relevant?
    They blame, inter alia, the discounting shops Aldi/Lidl.
    Discounting on this scale says a lot about the recovery?

    I’m too posh to go to discount stores. I like the Co-Op convenience stores, partly because the staff are so cheerful; might = the Co-Op staff structures less hierarchical.

  49. From a polling perspective the more that farage is in the media making his point the stronger their VI and therefore the weaker the Tories.

    The recent drop in lead (and indeed the similar events last year – all of which were then reversed) has been the tories taking votes from UKIP when the tories were strong in the media and UKIP weak. Wind up the UKIP coverage and like we had last summer the UKIP position surges and the Tories declines – the lack of a UKIP prompt surely must have an impact here.

    So the commentators in the media suggesting that a Farage win in the debates was good for Cameron must be joking – its the opposite.

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