This is getting interesting…

The Lib Dem surge shows Labour continuing to benefit in the Sunday polls. With figures like these, any one of the three parties can take the lead. But after years in the lead this is hardly the time for Conservative support to be exposed as soft. If this pattern is held the result will be unpredictable. Those hoping for another game changer from the next Leaders’ Debate may be disappointed. First because a repeat of the first debate’s impact is far from guaranteed and second, the debate is live only on Sky News, a digital channel of course, where its regular weekly share of the TV audience is 0.6% compared to BBC1’s 20% although there’s a repeat in 11.30 pm graveyard slot on BBC2. In view of the first debate’s high impact, the lateral thought for the second would be to simulcast it on the obvious terrestrial channel C 4, but I daresay that won’t happen.

  • jojo

    Looks like Cameron’s popularity is falling like Belfast Tele sales over the past three or four years. The only thing is – have they fallen so far that they’ve reached their level yet?

  • Mick Fealty

    I’m amazed there’s been no comment on this. It has the potential to be pretty earth shattering stuff. Though the Lib Dem canvasser I spoke to today was pretty cautious, they must be getting quietly hysterical underneath.

  • jojo

    We are witnessing a change in the way politics works and that may be good to start with but what worries me is that it’s so image and PR driven so the longer term is worrying.

  • jojo

    We are witnessing a change in the way politics works and that may be good to start with but what worries me is that it’s so image and PR driven so the longer term is worrying.

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    Martin Kettle in the Guardian on Saturday:

    “if it was reflected in the result on May 6, then be in no doubt that it could unleash one of the most intractable political and constitutional crises this country has ever seen”.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Martin Kettle would be expected to say that.

    But its not that earth shattering is it. Clegg was the best of the performers and thats what the Media has encouraged…….performance.
    It was really no different from the X Factor but this time invlving three broadcasters.
    The political/journalistic elite (Simon Cowell & Louis Walsh) thought it was between Cameron & Brown. In fact they squeezed out Scotland & Wales.

    But the great voting public….(pesky amateurs) voted for Clegg.
    I wont labour the metaphor because it implies Clegg is actually Jedward.

  • Manfarang

    Tell Martin Kettle to go to Bangkok if he wants to find out about intractable political and constitutional crises.

  • Alias

    Either way, it’s the end of Dave. Folks obviously don’t want another Tony Blair.

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    ” Either way, it’s the end of Dave. Folks obviously don’t want another Tony Blair. ”

    Posted by Alias

    I was just thinking the same thing.

    Perhaps there are some hoping that Clegg can turn out to be Britains Barack Obama.

    I hope this turns out to be a democratic revolution.

    The last british Parliament deserves that as its Epitaph.

  • sbelfastunionist

    I agree that the 2nd debate is unlikely to have the same game changing effect though I think it will still have an impact. I think the pressure is on Clegg to maintain the momentum – i’m not saying Clegg is a Sarah Palin but remember the rave reviews she got after her first major exposure to the public and the bounce in the polls. However as the spotlight fell deeper on her policies etc the support faded. Cameron also has to prove that he can live up to the past expectations. Funnily, I think Brown just has to be Brown. There is a potential crisis looming here. If Labour were to come third in percentage of the vote but have the most seats Brown will have no credibility to govern, the Libeals would lose their new found credibility if he propped them up. Coming second in vote numbers but leading in seats could be done but third would be different. Finally, if the Liberals came first or second but only get 100 odd seats as predicted and Labour is the largest party, surely the first past the post system is going to find it hard to survive

  • sbelfastunionist

    Sorry also meant to mention that I don’t think it matters about the debate being on Sky – the coverage on the news and in the press the next day will get the key developments out there. Clegg has benefitted as much from three days of press coverage saying he won the debate as he has from people who actually saw it.

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    ” Finally, if the Liberals came first or second but only get 100 odd seats as predicted and Labour is the largest party, surely the first past the post system is going to find it hard to survive ”

    Posted by sbelfastunionist

    Perhaps even the suggestion that this could happen indicates that first past the vote system should not survive.

  • articles

    Clegg has benefited in the last three days and now the guns will slowly turn as Murdoch et al implement their newly thought through strategy in response to Thursday’s debate.

    Will it be subtle or will it be bludgeoning? A mixture of both and the good old Guardian will REPORT both so as to give their readers the continuing best coverage.

  • Mick Fealty

    There’s nearly three weeks to poll, so I don’t think we ought to jump to any premature conclusions. But yes, the theoretical arithmetic is certainly something to conjure with.

    Two systems that ought to be ruled out: Brown’s AV; and PR STV.

    FJH,

    I’m going to try and get a guest blogger from Scotland to discuss what effects this LD surge at Westminster has on nationalist and unionist parties there.

  • Scaramoosh

    For those wishing to chart the trajectory of the “yellow revolution” this site is a must read;

    http://www2.politicalbetting.com/

    P.S. The deal clincher for Clegg is the youth vote.
    Millions of teenagers and your twenty somethings, who last week believed that politics changed nothing, are suddenly presented with the opportunity to set of a political revolution. They do not care that Vince Cable is described as being dangerous by a Tory City backer, or that Liberal Democrat policies are described as being silly by the other two parties. They are the Facebook and Twitter generation and cannot be rounded up like sheep.

    Vis a vis the next debate; Clegg wins it on his parties stance vis a vis the Iraq war and Afghanistan. They might try and go for him on Europe, but any such attack will be seen as sour grapes and will have the Tories being portrayed as swinging to the right; something posh boy has worked hard to prevent.

  • the old Manxman

    For what it’s worth, the second debate is also going out live on BBC News channel at 20.00 on Thursday. Weirdly they’re only showing the first hour so I suspect there may be an agreement to give the commissioning channel exclusivity. With that and it being foreign policy, the debate may only get 3-4 million. But then I thought the first one would only get that, so what do I know.

    The important debate will undoubtedly be no. 3, because it’s last, it’s about the economy and because it’s on BBC and like it or not people always associate with the big events. Both Labour and the Tories must be regretting saying next to nothing concrete about the deficit in their manifestos.

  • The Pert Young Piece around the house was running those latest numbers through the various on-line seat predictors.

    If those numbers are any way near credible, I doubt that Labour are too worried.

    Beyond that, there’s no need for Martin Kettle or anyone else to obsess. What’ll happen is a working arrangement between two parties. And, oddly enough, I reckon the Great British Public will find they quite like it. A return to Butskellism?

    And, by the way, for those who must get the second debate “live”, without benefit of Murdoch, there’s always good, old-fashioned steam radio. That way, for anyone with a soul, the pictures are better, too.