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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    Thank you -very interesting.

  2. Aside from the obvious – that companies intent on profit may put up prices in other countries they operate in, not just ours, tax plays a big part. We pay VAT of 5% on our energy, while in Copenhagen, taxes make up about half of an energy bill.

  3. ALEC

    “The average prices of goods sold showed deflation of 0.2% compared with February 2013
    with fuel providing the greatest contribution falling by 4.4%. The last time store price deflation
    occurred was September 2009 (0.8%) when fuel was again the main contributor 5.8%.”


  4. Rogerh

    Fossil fuels won’t outstrip renewables any time soon, which is which the green levies were introduced to fund subsidies to allow renewable sources to operate.


    Companies maximise profits, I don’t consider a company that sets it’s prices in such a way to maximise profits ‘bad’. (A company that breaks/circumvents the law with a team of lawyers specialising in circumventing laws in order to exploit additional profits of course is bad). If a company owns a monopoly, I expect monopoly prices to be set, that isn’t a problem. The problem is when they start acting against competition law to allow additional players entering the market to maintain that equilibrium.

    Monopolies are sometimes a good thing, no one would suggest running a second national grid (running at 110v supply) to enhance competition in the market for distribution. How government prevent these natural monopolies from exploiting their position will be very different to companies that maintain a monopoly to high barriers to entry to the market.

    If the market has a flaw (such as consumers not shopping around so even if one company did drop it’s prices massively the would be no change in market share), gvernment intervention can be justified to correct that flaw. Making things more transparent so that more people shop around will lower the optimum price a company sets.

    (If the flaw is collusion over prices then massive fines and throwing those responsible in prison would be a tool to ensure that practice never happens).

    Governments setting prices as a solution requires the governments having a great deal of information about the market and this can go horribly wrong. Removing the obstacles that prevent the market behaving competitively is normally much simpler and safer, although are probably too arcane for the electorate to grasp than selling a “price = p” solution.

    I’d rather see people analysing the market, reporting “x, y and z prevent the market operating competitively” and a government taking appropriate action than simply guessing at the best price and imposing it from above as part of a “Grand Plan”

    My problems with “government knows best” solutions, (to anything) is that invariably, they don’t.

  5. We pay VAT plus 6% energy taxes, although the latter are supposed to drop…

  6. Alan

    Thanks Alan your piece says it all I think. As I posted earlier I am pleased that the review is to be undertaken think it is the right way forward. Mind the reduction in investment we have already seen from SSE yesterday (before the review announcement) and Centrica today is worrying although expected and understandable to some extent.

  7. @Alan

    Been through a lot of this before, and agree with a fair amount of what you say, but just quickly

    – whether or not companies are bad, the main issue is that inflated prices on essentials through oligopoly power is not much cop

    – rely-ing on consumers to shop around is no panacea when it is in companies interests to frustrate that process

    – energy companies hoovering up supply can then create barriers to entry for other firms

    – you don’t have to set prices absolutely, you can set thresholds as Alec has indicated in the past where water is concerned. You can also inject some state competition… scale it down if the private sector behaves, ramp it up if they don’t. Easier for some sectors than others, but we should always have a state bank ready to ramp up, especially in a crisis…

    Or just use Thorium and solve the problem once and for all.

  8. Hi Alan,

    I’ve only read this ‘page’ so I have no idea what the context of this debate has been, but I know for sure that the reaction of a lot of people to shopping around for energy is ‘why the hell should I need to?’ It used to be publicly owned, i.e. by those very people who are now being overcharged for it.

    Privatising all the now private ‘stuff’ (energy, the utilities, rail, phone, mail, health, heaven help us) turns out to be have had the worst possible outcome for consumers, to whom the notion of private ownership was marketed and sold on the ground that competition would make things more economical for them. It hasn’t done that. It has merely proved to be an engine by which yet more of the nation’s resources become concentrated in the hands of fewer individuals.

    Does the government know best? Often not. Does that have any bearing at all on the case for privatisation, however? Clearly not, because companies know best only what is good for themselves. Their interests and the customers’ interests diverge, so however well they know whatever they know, it doesn’t benefit the citizenry in general.

  9. Just been looking back through the thread and I see that there was some discussion of the MacBethian situation following a/the ‘No’ vote in September.
    Whilst agreeing that the SNP are likely to receive a boost following the rejection of Independence, I do not agree that this will only be temporary, and that Labour will reclaim its ‘rightful place’ as Scotland’s natural representative in Westminster. We have to realise that the hegemony of Labour in Scotland is now a thing of the past.
    One of the most striking things at the moment is their lack of talent at the level of leadership at Holyrood. Of the Westminster Scots, only Douglas Alexander seems to present the sort of confident figure which makes people think Labour have something to offer. All other possible replacements for a deposed EM (should Labour wish to depose him) are unknowns north of the Border.
    This is, in part, a result of devolution. Seeing that few Westminster government ministers have any say over Scottish affairs, their Shadows likewise are rarely spoken of north of the Border.
    Lastly, the referendum debate itself is having a negative effect on Labour in Scotland. Despite a unanimous vote at its Spring Conference last week on greater tax raising powers for Holyrood, it is well known that Labour is very divided about ‘what next’. Balls’ supine agreement with Osborne over sterling has continued to rankle, as does the idea that any English politician can come north, give a speech, or hold a Cabinet Meeting for that matter, and head south again on the same day without meeting anyone belonging to the general public. If Milliband wants Scotland to remain part of the UK he must come north, and stay north, and engage. If that means being away from Westminster for three or four days a week from now until September 18, then so be it. The alternative is to continue giving the impression that the whole Scottish question is of little real emotional or political importance to him. Can he afford to continue giving that impression to those who provide him with 30 – 35 valuable MPs, when the current prospective Labour majority is 32?

  10. @Alan pt2

    In addition… some aren’t much cop at maths. They might be brilliant paramedics or artists though. Not many are good at everything. And some of the elderly who were once good at maths need protecting. And frankly, all this shopping around is boring and inefficient… especially for stuff like leccy…please God, never let me have to shop around for refuse… private sector’s understandable for something like mobile phones but it’s not like privatisation has given us… better quality leccy. Better if more people can devote more of their time to their specialisms.

  11. @ TOH

    No Howie I love gardening, esp. digging — the allotment, etc. My Irish paternity makes me a natural navvy.

    Also big on my pond, aquatic flower bed [no fish obviously] , one where pests like snails etc are welcome. My newts breed like, well newts, but frog spawn keeps failing. Those dumb frogs lay too early & impervious to my lectures on frog family planning.

  12. (refuse collection, not refuse, though the way things are going, maybe that’s our future…)

  13. Carfrew

    If an oligopoly is a natural outcome of the market, then it can be more inefficient that squeezing more companies into a market where the increase in costs outweighs the reduction in moving to a more competitive market. I don’t think that’s the case in the energy market as the fixed costs on the supply side are very low and very small companies can still operate.

    Where a natural monopoly/oligopoly exists there is a case for independent regulation, I don’t see the being much of a case for political parties outbidding each other with the size of stone used to punish the companies as you’ll never get to the appropriate levels that way.

    If the oligopoly exists because the companies in the market behave in a manner that prevents anyone else entering then that requires intervention to fix that flaw.

    With regard to consumers shopping around, if no one ever shopped around companies could set whatever price they liked, if the reason people aren’t shopping around due to companies making it difficult, then legislate to make them more transparent. Without consumers able and willing to change supplier you’ll never get a competitive market.

    I’ve always been a bit skeptical over Thorium reactors, in a similar way cold fusion was proposed to be energy of the future. If they could be run at an economic scale, someone would have done it by now, that’s not to say that research is a waste I just think it isn’t the no brainer it’s claimed to be.

  14. @Alan pt 3

    Leaving it all to the private sector is inefficient. Not just because of capturing markets or marketing overheads and patent wars etc., but because they don’t pursue efficiencies that are not in their interests, even though they may be in ours.

    Like Thorium. Lots going for it, but private sector unlikely to go for it partly because of upfront costs but also because they make a lot out of fuel processing and Thorium doesn’t need fuel processing. And the state had to develop nuclear power in the first place…

  15. @Alan

    Agree about the oligopoly/competition thing. Squeezing more in can dilute economies of scale. Agree about independent regulation and fixing anti-competitive behaviour.

    Although… on the oligopoly thing, it can be handy for the state to inject some rival competition via new tech that the private sector wouldn’t develop ‘cos they can profiteer as things are. Like Thorium.

    I’m not saying no shopping around should happen, I would quite like it if someone else did it instead. A specialist who has the time. Like, I don’t have to negotiate bulk deals on medical stuff, the NHS does that. The council sort out the refuse collection etc.

    On Thorium… they’ve proven a lot of the tech. It got closed down because it didn’t do stuff suitable for weapons, Nixon wanted fast conventional breeders quickly for jobs in Cali, and the private sector do nicely out of conventional reactors. Also the chief proponent got laid off because he was raising the issue of safety of other reactors.

    The guy who invented the Thorium reactor was the guy who invented the original light water reactor. This stuff works. In many ways a Thorium reactor is simpler, which makes it safer and more efficient.

  16. @ Carfrew Don’t know about Thorium, I’m afraid but will look it up. But I do like the kind of things that you say about privatisation. Does anybody in the Labour party dare say them in public?

  17. @Charles

    Dunno what the Labour party thinks… I’m horses for courses about privatisation. Like, I don’t know that I would want the state to provide my hifi. But if we are talking about railways…

  18. The next Clegg and Farage debate is next Weds on BBC2 TV so could attract a larger audience. There may be a bit more at stake.

    Perhaps the idea of Europe as a political entity has not been debated as yet, but I think Clegg could gain some votes – from pro-european Conservatives perhaps?

    You can probably tell I am trying to change the subject as I have never heard of Thorium.

    My heart agrees with what Charles says about the utilities, but I suppose buying them back would be expensive. Also I believe that in the case of water the public Water Boards (rather strangely) failed to make the necessary long-term investments.

  19. A few thoughts on energy and privatisation….

    1. A significant chunk of the energy market isn’t privatised at all. Like trains and buses it’s owned by foreign governments who know a good scam when they see one.

    2. Like rail, there is no scope for ‘proper’ capitalist competition in the energy market. The supply is largely government controlled (you can’t get up one morning and decide to build a new railway line, and any power generation is subject to massive regulation and subsidy). Effective competition is about disruption. As a result it’s not really worth the bother of shopping around. I could pay 4 times more for the same breakdown service if I went to the market leaders: I doubt the difference in energy costs is more than 10%.

  20. @Charles

    Thorium’s interesting. In traditional reactors, you have solid fuel in rods, which is cooled by water under pressure. In the experimental reactor, they used a molten salt instead of water for cooling, but they also dissolved the fuel in it. This makes it a lot more efficient, and safer.

    They proved this would work, but it wasn’t a breeder reactor. It didn’t keep generating more fuel. Then they proved in a conventional reactor you can breed fuel from Thorium… the remaining trick is to build the breeding capability into the molten salt reactor. There’s a simple, clever way of doing this, but no one’s tried it out.

    Another reason… countries that have lots of fossil fuels aren’t in a rush for a rival tech. Which may be why India and China are doing it.

  21. Carfrew
    The state does provide your railways. It’s called Network Rail.

  22. Lol Howard, I think you might be leaving a bit out…

  23. @Alister1948

    “The next Clegg and Farage debate is next Weds on BBC2 TV so could attract a larger audience. There may be a bit more at stake.”

    This debate might be of more significance given the nationwide audience. I think there can only be one “winner” in this one and that will be our old friend Mr Farage. Clegg is damaged goods beyond repair politically and I rather agree with a point made earlier in this thread that the more he is seen the worse it is likely to be for both him and his party. Ironically, he may well “win” in pure debating terms, but Farage will thrive on the unique opportunity to strut his stuff in front of the nation. I suspect he’ll press all manner of buttons beyond the narrow EU issue; immigration, gay marriage, look-at-me-Mr-Ordinary-Joe with a pint and a fag in the pub routine. You just watch him perform.

    Golf Club Bore versus lacklustre Man in Suit. I give it to the Bore by a mile and you watch him laugh all the way to the ballot box in May.

  24. Carfrew

    Just to add:

    Ah you mean the trains! They are nearly all owned by the banks.

    The staff? They are nearly all guaranteed employment by the state – (called TUPE). Just the top managers are truly working for the franchisees (and they are nearly all nationalised – except that they are owned by foreign states, France, Germany, Netherlands).

    The only bit that is privatised is the contract for managing a franchise (although it is the TUPE employees who actually run the thing and of course the Network Rail employees who maintain the track and signal the trains) and that whole thing is subsidised up to the hilt by we taxpayers, just as the Highways Agency roads and the Local Authority roads are.

    We ‘own’ it all.

  25. Re the discussion on energy prices and privatisation generally, this link is interesting

    This shows that (confirming my own memory), that gas and electric prices fell considerably in real terms after privatisation, and also generated income for the treasury instead of having to be subsidised.

    Please don’t rubbish this because you don’t like the source, but try to find contrary factual information somewhere else.

  26. @Pete B

    That makes sense. Initially there’s a lot more competition, they want to capture market share, and they’d probably shed some jobs. Down the line, the issues grow however…

  27. Crossbat11

    Yes, I agree that the debate does Farage the compliment of taking him seriously, and that is a risk for those of us who are not UKIP supporters (hope that is not too partisan).

    I don’t know how the European elections will go, but I suspect UKIP are depending on a rather small demographic – male, white, over 60 – though there is a little doubt whether these are those left behind by modern capitalism, or those who have done rather well, or perhaps a larger combination of the two.

    Pulling two themes together that have both appeared on here before, if Labour win in 2015 at the GE (likely), and become unpopular at times (almost certain), and if in the north of England there are people who are fairly socially conservative but do not like the London elite or the Conservative Party – then there is a role for UKI P as the second party in the north of England, and perhaps elsewhere as well.

    But Clegg is right to support the EU as a unique selling point for the LDs. It will not appeal to huge numbers, but it does not have to. Just that x% that may stop the party losing all the MEPs.

    We’ll find out in a few weeks.

  28. @Howard

    Whatever the iniquitous arrangement, I would prefer reverting to the previous arrangement where it was actually possible to plan a journey in a few minutes without having to take out a second mortgage to pay for it unless you book it in advance whilst still in the womb.

  29. UKI P – UKIP

  30. As far as I know journeys along the birth canal do not have to be booked in advance, and are still free of charge. Don’t tell the Chancellor or his Shadow.

  31. “As far as I know journeys along the birth canal do not have to be booked in advance, and are still free of charge”


    Lol. Feels as though i’m still paying for my journey…

  32. Alister1948

    “As far as I know journeys along the birth canal do not have to be booked in advance, and are still free of charge”

    They are normally booked around 40 weeks in advance. Those booking the trip will face significant consequential costs.

  33. YG showing Lab lead in GB down to 1% again?

  34. PostageIncluded, I’ve got an answer to your question!

    “The Guardian letter… was written weeks ago, before the budget. I didn’t think it would appear on the front page, I thought it might appear on page 20. There is a legitimate concern that we are only 14 months to go and only analysing problems…

    I signed it because [illegible, haven’t got this shorthand thing quite down yet] Labour there is a radical agenda that is not quite being reached for.”

    LAB 36%
    CON 35%
    UKIP 11%
    LD 10%

    Vote for the three main parties and UKIP is only 92%, which means I want to look at tabs to see who might be gaining from this rather low Labour score.

  35. Oh, and a Euro poll:

    LAB 28%
    UKIP 26%
    CON 24%
    LD 11%.

  36. Also, on this switching thing… I would dearly love to live in the universe where this never goes wrong. Every time one has to change broadband provider, for example, one’s heart sinks, because you just know they are going to f*ck up the switch. They nearly always f*ck it up. The one time it didn’t, the company got bought out and the company who bought them out promised a seamless transition.

    Took two months before I got online again. Which may have been a relief to some, but being offline interferes with all the other switching – Gas, leccy, insurance, mobiles etc. – and I’d hate for these paragons of private sector efficiency to miss out on the opportunity to f*ck it up some more…

    Especially because I know despite best efforts I’ll probably wind up having to give some career advice or summat to the customer service person while I’m trying to sort it out…

  37. Interesting Polls !

  38. Polls have just closed in the Kilmarnock North council by-election.

    Under Scotland’s STV system, this ward had 1 Lab and 2 SNP (one of whom died and caused the by-election). Unlike a number of Scottish by-elections, this can reasonably be called as an SNP seat, for the consequent AV style by-election.

    In 2012, first-preference votes were SNP 53%, Lab 36%, Con 12%. Lib-Dems didn’t stand then or now, but the Greens have a candidate this time.

    As always, council by-elections are hardly the stuff of great political import, so not much can be read into whatever the result is (unless the SNP lose, or there’s an unexpectedly high turnout).

    However, given the frenetic atmosphere of Macbethian politics, there will be much spinning in the former home of Johnny Walker!

  39. @MrNameless

    What are the %age changes in the Europoll?…

  40. Carefrew,
    Very much agree with your last post.We have been stuck with Talk Talk for years because I nearly had a nervous breakdown during the changeover from
    Our previous supplier.


    I think it is:-

    Lab -4
    LD +1
    UKIP +3
    Con N/C

  42. Ooh!

    YouGov/Sun poll tonight – Labour lead falls to just one point: CON 35%, LAB 36%, LD 10%, UKIP 11%

  43. @MrNameless

    Thank ya!!

    Shift from Labour to Ukip? Weird churn things going on? Or the usual Margin of Terror?!!…

  44. @ Mr N

    Thanks much for getting back on that. From the opening disclaimer it’s obvious that, as I rather suspected, there was no strategy involved.

  45. Statgeek

    Does that mean Lab & Con are necking in GB? Seems reasonable after they did on the welfare cap. :-)

  46. Oops, Soz Colin, didn’t realise it was you, assumed it was MrN. Thanks anyways…

  47. @Pete B – that link regarding privatisation of gas and electricity is fascinating – and also rubbish.

    I’m afraid any analysis of managerial changes in the UK energy supply industry from 1985 – 1995 that fails to mention the 1980’s oil glut and the collapse in global energy prices is woefully inadequate.

    Shortly after gas privatisation, prices collapsed by around 50%, staying at that level until 1995, the cut off date used in the study. Electricity was privatise later, in 1990, just after a mini peak in oil prices. This is the key reason why prices fell a lot for gas and a little for electricity. Had they ended the analysis in 2000, for example, they would had found different factors.

    This kind of analysis is really extremely funny. There may well be merit in their overall argument, but the numbers this particular set of politically motivated pointy heads come out with can be picked apart by a child with access to Wikipedia.

    It hurts me to think that people like this actually have influence over policy makers.

  48. @Oldnat

    The Conservatives picked after the 19th from 2010 Con voters. They also have picked up some 2010 Labour voters, but that commenced on the 20th instead.

    Labour has lost quite a bit of 2010 LD voters, commencing the 18th of March, the same day they some 2010 Labour voters.

    The LDs had a boost of 2010 LD voters from 2010 LD voters from the 18th.

    UKIP began losing 2010 cons back to the Conservatives on the 12th.

    Therefore, the changes that are looking to be reliably happening don’t seem to have their roots around the budget exclusively, or the benefit cap vote either. I would suggest that this is more complicated, nuanced and based on some things that are pre-budget.

  49. @Ann in Wales

    Know just how you feel. I daredn’t change energy provider after the horror stories I’ve heard. Do you remember the halcyon days when the wonderful customer-focused energy peeps used to send salesmen round pretending to be meter-readers to try and fool one into switching?…

    “We need to read your meter!!”
    “I see. Why?”
    “To help you save money on your bill”
    “But I only had it read the other day”
    “Don’t you want to save money on your bill?”
    “How will reading the meter help though?”
    “So we can see what you use and help you with your bill”
    “You should already know what I use, it was read the day before yesterday”
    “Look, if I can just come in for a few minutes…”
    “And you don’t really mean that WE need to read the meter, do you? I mean, I already know what it says…”
    “Look, if I can just read the meter…”
    “There’s no need to come in to read the meter”
    “There is, so we can help you save money on your bill!!”
    “But the meter is outside, round the back…”

    etc. etc.

  50. Catmanjeff

    Fascinating answer – I’m just a tad confused as to what post of mine you were replying to!

    Kilmarnock by-election where the LDs didn’t stand in 2012, maybe?

    Impressed by your knowledge of the calendar though! :-)

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