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. All the points about Eu and spending are well made and fair but I’m not convinced our government is any more competent at spending money – defence procurement in one long running example of the profligate in pursuit of the impossible and as we’ve seen with any number a of attempts at government inspired record keeping systems which have hemorrhaged good money after bad we’re no better there. Indeed look back to dear old Concorde and sigh a knowing sigh.

    The thing about the Eu is the lack of direct democratic accountability and that particular flaw in the very one national governments of all hues will not cry out against – since it’s the political class who get to fly all over Europe to sit in important chairs and horse trade.

    Until there’s direct accountability the EU civil service will heed its multifarious paymasters with their conflicting interests and vaulting ambitions and keep
    things just as they are….

    The long anticipated narrowing of terms is underway at last between Labour and Conservatives – of course if there’s a majority Conservative government they still may struggle to get boundary changes through the lords. This government has been unusual since it has had an effective majority as it holds as plurality over Labour peers. But then again history teaches us elected governments usually get their way one way or another.

    Mr Milliband might watch his back if there’s a second debacle in Scotland – and oddly the more likelihood there is of a Conservative majority government the more likely that is.

    I still think Milliband is more ruthless than he appears – were I Ed Balls I would not be counting my chickens…

  2. @ Alec
    The one person who kept us out was GB with his mysterious tests.
    I congratulate myself regularly on opposing it. Most of my friends who supported it seemed to think mainly in terms of simplifying holiday currency!
    I’m now going to dig TOH’s garden as he seems to be a strictly armchair gardener.

  3. @Colin

    “Is this credible ?”

    Many moons ago in another place, not long after the 2011 Scottish Elections, I postulated the idea of a ‘No’ vote in 2014 leading to a rise in SNP support in the 2015 GE.

    With the near wipe-out of Lib Dem seats in Scotland (based on polling at that time, and up to point today), coupled with disaffection for the Westminster lot, I suggested there might even be a situation of the SNP being the King makers in Westminster.

    Fanciful stuff, given the Con and Lab love of the SNP, and the reciprocation of that love from the latter, but it’s amazing the sudden love parties can have for one another when faced with the alternative of opposition or minority government.

    Some believe that a ‘No’ vote will result in the SNP support crumbling. Most of those suggesting this have been Labour supporters, so I’m sceptical as to how much of that is objective.

    If VI equalled seats, the approximate Westminster seat count for Scotland would be:

    Lab: 24 (-17)
    SNP: 15 (+9)
    Con: 12 (+11)
    Lib: 5 (-6)
    UKIP: 1 (+1)
    Green 1 (+1)
    Other 1 (+1)

    As you can see, there’s a massive difference between VI and seats in Scotland, and Lab’s VI is largely unchanged since 2010. For the SNP to get that sort of score, they need something like Lab 33%, SNP 33%.

    Credible? Yes. Likely? Less so.

  4. @Ian Bailey

    We’ll have to see the next day or two of polls. I suppose today’s poll was largely done before the debate, but I noticed that UKIP we’re back up to 11%, while the Conservatives were still on 35%, so there’s nothing to suggest that all UKIP VI is Conservative or vice versa.

  5. Telegraph:

    “The boss of Britain’s biggest energy company has warned households they face an “increasing risk” of blackouts because of an investigation into whether the industry is ripping off consumers.

    Sam Laidlaw, Centrica chief executive, said it would now have less “enthusiasm” for investing in new power plants as an “inevitable consequence” of regulator Ofgem’s decision to call for a full Competition and Markets Authority probe into the sector. “

    They used to accuse Unions of “holding the country to ransom”.

  6. @Alec

    Yep, Thorium is much safer, much less waste, much more efficient, less expensive, much more abundant, more compact, and much of the tech was proven in the seventies…

  7. “Indeed look back to dear old Concorde and sigh a knowing sigh.”


    There was a good business case for Concorde at the time and it threatened to cream off all the lucrative business customers. It took a combination of a quadrupling of oil costs plus restrictions on its flights by competitors to keep it down. Became profitable when fuel prices fell back in the mid-eighties though…

  8. @Alec

    Oh and the Indians are doing it as well as the Chinese…

  9. Statgeek,

    I too foresee a boost in SNP support after a no vote as the nats rally round the flag. I think it’ll unwind before too long but could carry them well into a GE.

  10. Interesting report regarding where does UKIP support come from.

    20 Years ago the Party achieved 1% (It actually only achieved 3% at the last GE but I will come back to that)

    The consensus is that UKIP support originally came from poorly educated, indigenous (as in born here) , working class people and the less well off Old basically the same ground that the BNP and incidentally Adolph Hitler appealed to.

    Those who feel that they are the have nots in society.

    By the time of the last Euro UKIP was picking up around 20 % of the electorate primarily from this group.

    When the GE election came around most of these people actually reverted to their normal practices all be it UKIP did retain the BNP vote.

    The Gain since the election has been primarily from the same groups but disproportionately from the old which is why the impact has been somewhat greater on the Tories.

    However,80% of UKIP supporters have expressed an unwillingness ever to vote Tory

    The question now regarding GE election VI is will these people do the same thing as last time

    If there is a perception that a GE vote for UKIP is a waisted vote then presumably they will return to their previous affiliations or simply not bother.

  11. Re: Concorde

    Other countries were worried about Concorde so they invested in their own supersonic transport programmes… we were the only ones who could make it work though. We were so far ahead… it’s rumoured the reason we cancelled TSR2 was ultimately because the Americans said we could have TSR2 or Concorde, but not both…

    We gifted the Americans the key ingredient to supersonic flight in the first place: the moveable tailplane… planes had been catastrophically going out of control near the sound barrier. We found out the reason – shockwaves building up on the control surfaces making it hard to move them – and the solution (make the whole tailplane a control surface).

    We were miles ahead with jet travel, and when Comet had trouble, we found the reason – metal fatigue – and solution (round windows), and let the Americans have it, to save lives. But that meant because late to market they could revise designs before production and steal a march, and didn’t have to investigate the problem for themselves.

  12. @Colin – “At present they demonstrate that fuel prices continue to fall.which is unequivocally good news for consumers .”

    No it doesn’t. If this was the only factor, we would see retail margins increasing, but they are not – profitability is falling.

    The primary factor governing prices is not fuel input prices, but demand. Demand is weak, so prices are falling and margins being squeezed.

    This is good news for the consumer, but will cease to be quite so benign if deflation sets in on a wider scale. Given that many consumers are in debt, deflation would be about the worst thing they could possibly wish for.

  13. @Alec

    In an other wise well argued post you stated;

    ‘Everyone _knows_ that leaving the EU would be a complete disaster’

    Really? are you suggesting that those who SAY they believe otherwise are just being mischievous or unwittingly not stating their true opinions that they might perhaps to under hypnosis?

  14. Blimey, I thought we were back into paying tributes to the recently canonised Tony Benn when I saw all this discussion about Concorde! Anglo-French vanity project or a major advance in passenger air travel? As Big Brother would say; you decide (I can’t write with a Geordie accent!)

    On the Farage/Clegg debate, I tend to agree with the view that they both won really, exacting rare airtime and exposure for two essentially below-the-radar political figures. Rather like obscure family relatives, they usually only emerge at funerals, weddings and Christmas! They’ll have both been delighted by the coverage and they will think, with some justification, that they’ve exposed Cameron and Miliband as a couple of scaresdy-cats, fearful of the public and their own parties. My proviso, to mitigate against any joy unconfined amongst UKIP and Lib Dem followers, is that it wasn’t a nationally televised debate, featuring on a regional radio station instead rather mysteriously, and therefore the range of publicity will have been much reduced as opposed to it being broadcast on a mainstream national TV channel. I also don’t think that Europe is very high up on the public’s list of priorities; it’s an issue that has to be pushed to elicit reaction rather than one that occupies people’s every waking thought. I don’t think it’s much of a vote mover, I really don’t, and UKIP’s impetus is much more about it’s iconoclastic political persona rather than anything else. Red herrings and all that.

    What would most people think about the debate, assuming many watched or listened to it in the full? Probably a reinforcement of their already jaundiced view of Westminster politics. Two middle-aged white men in suits getting a bit peevish with each other over issues of marginal interest.

  15. @Mr Beeswax – sounds like a misunderstanding.

    I may be mistaken, but I thought that adding _underscores_ before and after a word denoted an element of sarcasm.

    In this case, my intention was to suggest that the certainty that leaving the EU would be a disaster was received wisdom but was not necessarily true.

    Therefore ‘everyone _knows_ that leaving the EU would be a complete disaster’ was not intended as a statement of fact, but merely a dig at all those people who tell us what a disaster it would be, without ever questioning the assertion.

  16. carfrew

    Not that comfortable but great to get to New York in 3.5 hours. I also remember it with affection.

  17. Mr Beeswax

    I agree, I think that In the long term we would be much betteroff if we left the EU. They sell more to us than we sell to them. Not going to happen though looking at polling.

  18. Robbiealive

    I have actually done 4.5 hours gardening today. Do you have a problem with gardening?

  19. TOH
    the other day you went through a walk and I think you were only gone 38 minutes. Just sayin.

  20. shevii

    I don’t claim to be an expert in this field and personally since I don’t have any significant investment in the Big 6 I can’t answer that question. I.m afraid my answer has to be the same as to Carfrew, you will have to do your own research on that, as I am not that interested.

  21. valerie

    Sorry what is the purpose of the question?

    When the weather is dodgy I often go for a short walk of 2 miles locally which takes my wife and I about 30 minutes which i think is quite good at our age. When I walk in the Surrey Hills we usually walk between 5 and 7 miles and take 2-3 hour as we often stop to look at plants and birds.

  22. @Crossbat

    “Anglo-French vanity project or a major advance in passenger air travel? As Big Brother would say; you decide (I can’t write with a Geordie accent!)”


    As I said, there was a business case, and extreme circumstances hampered. That can happen to any business with a new product line. Look how many product ventures Microsoft has quietly dropped.

    There are lessons to be learned, though. Products can be vulnerable to limiting actions by fearful rivals, in this case they could ramp up environmental regs. You have to take thst into account. Secondly, because of unforeen events like oil prices, you have to make sure there is plenty spin-off, so if one angle doesn’t work out, you have others.

    The Americans also did state investment in the internet and computer chips… much broader in application. As it happens, these days peeps are looking at doing supersonic business jets… smaller, so less noise and sonic boom etc.



    “I have actually done 4.5 hours gardening today. Do you have a problem with gardening?”


    Well he did offer to do your allotment…

  24. The so called Debate between Clegg and Farage descended into a schoolboy scrap over statistics that were so selected as to be valueless for an enlightened debate. It degenerated into a sort of second rate PMQs Session.
    In my view Clegg lost hands down – not necessarily because of the value of his case (although we can’t be sure) but more because people warmed to the “bloke-down-the-pub” style of Farage rather than the arrogant aloof style of Clegg.
    Clegg’s list of questionable stats sent people into raptures of tuneful snoring in our village pub whilst Farage’s outspoken anti-PC approach. Namely – saying as it is – prompted some supportive laughter and some ironic cheering at times.
    My overall feeling is that few, if any, changed their minds after this event. And all it served to do was to reinforce existing prejudices in those who were already committed one way or the other.


    “Sorry what is the purpose of the question?”



    She didn’t ask a question. She stated the time of your walk…

  26. Can any UKIP person explain to me the answer to the following –

    [No, they can’t, as this isn’t a venue for political debate – AW]

  27. Mark Ferguson of LabourList is appearing fresh from Tony Benn’s funeral to talk to SLS tonight at 6 (what a crap end to his day). Any questions that aren’t about big clanking balls?

  28. Seems Rupert Murdoch thinks that Labour will win in 2015.

    If that’s the case, that leaves him with a dilemma – back the party he thinks will win or continue to bash the man he blames for Leveson.

  29. Murdoch will back the Tories or NOTA as he did last year. He doesn’t like backing a loser, but he hates Ed more.

  30. “Mr Milliband might watch his back if there’s a second debacle in Scotland – and oddly the more likelihood there is of a Conservative majority government the more likely that is.”

    Somewhat of a potential downward spiral for Labour: the better the Conservatives are likely to do in England and Wales, the more likely it is that Labour lose a lot of seats from Scotland.

    I don’t know if getting rid of Ed Balls is the answer, though. Getting Darling back as Shadow Chancellor would look weak and desperate, while I don’t know if there’s anyone available who would be able to handle the strain of the job as well as Balls.

  31. Steve

    “Interesting report regarding where does UKIP support come from.”

    Where? ( i.e. where’s the report?)

  32. Chris

    “Seems Rupert Murdoch thinks that Labour will win in 2015.”

    Where did you learn that?

  33. Independentchrist
    It was interesting listening to spinmeister Paddy Ashdown as far as the winner /loser thing was concerned, “Clegg got 36% support, which is three times the current LD level of polling VI “, note the nudging upwards of the current level of LD support from 9 to 12%. That’s what all this was about , an attempt by Clegg to get some life into LD VI, which has shewn the liveliness of a Norwegian Blue, since mid 2010.

  34. imho people are tuning in to voting for different parties depending on the election. Some vote SNP for Holyrood, but not Westminster.

    In the same way, UKIP will probably get a good showing in the Euro elections, but some of the UKIP voters will turn back to their ‘main three’ party in a General Election.

  35. Chris – Murdoch will back Tory I believe. Miliband hasn’t cuked up to him enough…yet. Doubt that will change.

    However Murdoch’s press are a spent force. The sun will be at 1.75m copies a day – substantial yes but it was at 3m a day in 2010. It’s decline continues at over 10% a year. The Times is below 400k a day. Both have put their online presence behind a pay wall and get about 5% of online views compared to rivals.

  36. Enquiry on big 6 good news as that’s it now, no more spurious or politically motivated attacks, media etc. just got to wait two years for the independant enquiry to report…

  37. @Mr N
    Balls aside, you could could ask him what the strategic thinking was behind the recent Think-Tanks letter to the Guardian, to which he was a signatory. Other than “Look at us! We’re important, really we are” of course.

  38. Ewen I agree that NC went into the debate knowing he was probably going to ‘lose’ in so much his position is less popular the UKIPs as a whole and people tend to think their side ‘won’.

    I’m assuming it was in the hope that some of the lost lib dems who are pro Europe will come back to the fold, if that accounts for 8% of the population (back of a fag packet half the ‘lost’ votes). If he can recapture half of those for the European election, that 4% will be huge for the LDs at this stage, nothing else has worked up to this point, any movement can be attributed to the debates as nothing has moved the LD vote in a long time.

    Remains to be seen if there will be any effect but I think that was the hope, to create a ‘game changer’ to mitigate some of the damage and loss of MEPs, when you are this far behind, throwing the dice is probably a fine move.

  39. Clegg’s decision to take on Farage was strategically astute as his hope is that the publicity will nudge-up LD support AND firm-up Ukip support at the Tories expense. The LDs not only need to nudge-up their VI, but also increased Ukip VI will help them in LD/Con battles in constituencies they hold in 2015. So, for Clegg its win/win/win.

    There is though one major problem for him, and the LDs. I have detected over the past 2 years that each time Clegg gets media exposure, the LD VI dips in the few days afterwards. Not by much, as the bulk of those annoyed with him have gone for good already – but perceptibly the odd percentage point downwards each time he makes a bit of a splash. The LD VI recovers the more he is out of the news and other LDs make a bit of news. This must be devastating for him as he, and his advisers, are now playing a high risk strategy of allowing him to try and turn this round. However, if he flunks the Student Fees culpability question again as he did last night – all his wise words, and pleasant approach will be thoroughly discounted, leading to a dip, rather than a raising of LD VI by his increased exposure. So, is he therefore in a lose/lose/lose situation that masquerades as a win/win?

    If the LDs want to retain him as Leader – and he wants to remain Leader (in the hope of being kingmaker again after 2015) – and the LDs want to gain VI – maybe he needs to become a more inactive “out of the spotlight” Leader (excuse “too busy being Deputy PM”)and let others in the LDs make the media splashes.

  40. @Alan
    Best move among several bad ones. As Karpov once said “In this position resignation is strongest move”.

  41. Interesting piece on the BBC website about comparative energy costs across Europe.
    “In the past month, prices have risen in seven cities, and nowhere more so than in London. This has sparked dismay among consumers and sparked heated political debate about how best to reduce bills – hence the reduction in green levies. And yet UK consumers are less active in changing energy companies than at any time since 1999 – when they were first free to pick and choose supplier – with just 10% of customers switching during the past year.
    Electricity. “Even after the recent price rises, however, London remains one of the cheaper places to buy electricity, and below the European average.”
    Gas. “London is the second cheapest city, where households pay well below the European average, despite recent price rises. In the past month, seven countries have seen gas price rises, while eight have seen prices fall.”
    No consolation to those struggling to pay bills but interesting. Perhaps our energy companies are not so bad as we think they are. Anyway we will now have to wait for the review.

  42. Rich.

    Agree that it’s good that the situation will be looked at properly, politicians offering ‘fixes’ are about selling it to the electorate that about fixing the market.

    As an example, if the issue is a lack of competitors in the market, killing off the would be competitors in the name of sticking it to the big 6 will hurt more than help, even getting another two companies over the threshold to becoming the big 8 could have quite a big effect on the market, in certain situations.

    Let the experts investigate the market, give their report and then take what action is needed to make the market more competitive. There are nearly always better ways to fix a market than command and control.

  43. “Perhaps our energy companies are not so bad as we think they are.”


    Perhaps they are all bad, able to push up prices on essentials, especially since some of our energy companies are European-owned, so it may be the same companies at times. (That wasn’t a question by the way, so no biggie)…

  44. Fossil fuels are only ever going to get more expensive in the long term. We should be looking more at reducing energy use – e.g more of the sort of green schemes that Cameron was happy to drop for short term political advantage.

  45. @Alec… sorry wasn’t aware of that underscore = sarcasm convention. I stand corrected and glad to be so, thanks for clarifying.

  46. @ROGERH

    “Fossil fuels are only ever going to get more expensive in the long term. We should be looking more at reducing energy use – e.g more of the sort of green schemes that Cameron was happy to drop for short term political advantage.”


    You can resynthesise fossil fuels from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, if you have enough abundant, cheap energy, like from Thorium…

  47. Of the big six energy companies…

    E.On is German, EDF French, nPower German, and Scottish Power is controlled by a Spanish company…

  48. carfrew


  49. @ToH

    I already explained. If the same companies have hoovered up energy elsewhere in Europe, no surprise if prices are pushed up elsewhere in Europe too.

  50. carfrew


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