Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Cleggmania - were you actually at the game?

Bit of a story swirl on the election trail today - Cameron gets hit by egg, not great - Clegg bandwagon begins to stall, maybe.

Clegg did get monstered on expenses and immigration in a car crash interview on Radio 1; St Vince did get stripped of his sainthood in chancellors' debate.

Meanwhile Ken Clarke raised the spectre of the IMF running Britain in the event of a hung parliament and Brown in danger of slipping off the agenda.

In the midst of all that I'm indebted to Gary Gibbon, of Channel 4 news, for picking out the last paragraph of the Times analysis of its own polling.

Peter Riddell(as much of a polling legend as Robert Worcester of Mori, who was in this very office this morning) has been drilling through the polling figures that put the Tories on 32%, Libs up ten on 31% and Labour on 28%.

In the last few paragraphs Riddell finds that nearly half the public - 49% - claims to have watched last Thursday's TV televised debate; more than twice as many as actually did watch it in reality.

Gary Gibbon comments: "They may have caught the coverage on news bulletins, it may seem bad form not to have watched or they just want to be part of the national phenomenon that people are talking about"

And that is the Clegg bandwagon in a one, though it doesn't make it any easier to deal with on the election trail.

The figures to watch, according to all pollsters, is the gap between Labour and the Conservatives. It has to be about 6% for the Tories to win, and it is in that territory right now.

Labour's big danger is that the anti-Tory alliance, with Lib Dems lending their votes to keep the Tories out in many marginal constituencies, begins to unravel.

The mood, reflected in the polls, is that this does appear to be happening as voters want to give the establishment parties a kicking. The result is that these Lib Dems who held their nose and voted Labour before might not get the political reforms they want.

Brown is still relying on that long tunnel walk to the polling booth, when voters really do decide if they will flirt with something new or stick with what they know. Two debates, numerous polls and two long weeks to go.

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