Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Very Narrow Win for Cameron

I'll write something more detailed later, but my verdict on the debate would be that Cameron and Brown really raised their games, with Clegg still performing strongly, but not as strongly as last week. I think the YouGov/Sun instant poll got it about right but I'd put Brown slightly ahead of Clegg and Cameron just inching it.

And please don't anyone accuse me of seeing it through blue tinted spectacles. I called it for Clegg last week, I defended Clegg this morning, so I don't need to prove I can look at these things impartially. If I thought Clegg had won I'd say so. I thought he talked too quickly, he gabbled and was at times all over the place. However, his closing statement was the best of the three.


Sean said...

I disagree. I thought Brown was dire and causing himself and Labour damage every time he spoke.

It's now a two horse race again, but one of the horses has changed.

no longer anonymous said...

Cameron's opening statement made me groan but after that he really took off. I'd agree with your analysis of the outcome.

Anonymous said...

Again Iain, I think this election campaign has gotten too much and you need a long holiday somewhere quiet ;) I think Clegg shaded it over Cameron but how you can put the lunatic over either of them is absolutely bewildering.

Anonymous said...

I think there was really nothing in it. Clegg was, I agree, a little less impressive than last week, Cameron and Brown both did better.

Not as good a debate as last week either, Sky did a much worse job than ITV. Particularly whenever Nick Clegg was speaking they'd keep cutting away the camera shot, they did it a little with the others too, but not so much.

Agree that Nick's close was the strongest

DespairingLiberal said...

Brown was pants. Cameron was descending into the same old-same old with his dubious attacks on local leaflets, an old stand-by of Tories with nothing to say. Clegg was superb, which is why he won the ComRes poll. I don't trust the YouGov instant polling - their system can be gamed by determined CCHQ methodologies.

neiljward said...

I too think Cameron won the debate by a narrow margin Clegg came second and Brown third. Brown did do far better than last week and was much stronger.

Although tbh these debates haven't changed my mind I'm still voting for Cameron.

Also I believe as the moderators go Boulton is so far the best mod of the two debates so far

Unknown said...

Outstanding clip by Alex Salmond on Brown’s leaflets. You may have missed it if you were not watching Sky on TV

The King of Wrong said...

Clegg's closing statement was an impression of Tony Blair. He was talking.. with.. pauses and using.. expansive.. hand movements to.. accentuate.. his points. It looked like Rory Sodding Bremner was up there in the middle of the debate.

Brown has improved, absolutely fantastic work from his advisors. He still looks like he's swallowed a wasp but he sounded sincere. Real (fake) passionate oratory - he'd have done well on radio. Still, he could pass for a leader, which is infinitely better than last week.

Cameron still seems scared to call out obvious lies and go on the attack - comments about homophobes and extremists and antisemites (oh my!) were left to stand. He performed very well, though. Looked like the alpha male of the group discussing and dismissing the bickering. A win, but not a huge one.

CON: 8/10, LIB: 7/10, LAB: 7/10

Libertarian said...

Brown was awful, loved the camera shot of audience member yawning while Brown was speaking. Cameron was plastic and empty for most part. He got animated when he called Brown a liar and then went back to being his normal wet, vacuous self. Round 2 to Clegg I'm afraid. If the LD's even had ONE decent policy they would walk this election

Renata and Julian said...

same here, Brown is really bad at this stuff.

When he was cornered about the leaflets his grin got bigger and how can he stand there and say all he said about the expenses when he still has not told people where his second home is?

Oliver Sims said...

DC was pretty awful for most of tonight. He must regret agreeing to these debates now.

James Newsam said...

Iain, I have to say under the circumstances with Cameron under the most pressure he performed well, This Cleggmania has continued unsurprisingly but the Comres/ITV Poll has shown people are wising up to Lib Dem rhetoric but whats worrying is that Lib Dems are still being considered serious contenders.

Nich Starling said...

Of course you'd have Brown ahead of Clegg. You always want the Lib Dems in 3rd.

Actually, two of the polls after the debate have the Lib Dem leader in the lead. Only the one paid for by The Sun and Murdoch have Cameron ahead.

Unknown said...

Clegg clearly out of his depth on banking and on national security.
Brown bossed the debate,Cameron looked scared and looking over his shoulder,Boris must be rubbing his hands bring in 2014

Unknown said...

Wow, did you see this?

This gets Gordon rather bang to rights on the leaflet issue. No doubt a bigger boy mad him do it.

Christopher Jones said...

I think Cameron will have played those right leaning, but I thought he was as ever weak on policy, and the more they got into a policy area the weaker he became. One particular Cameron policy that has annoyed me for a while is the proposal to give free care to the elderly for a one-off payment of £8000. My mother works in the industry and £8000 does not go very far for paying for the care. The policy would cripple us financially, and favour those with the disposable cash to pay a one off lump sum of £8000.

I've defended Brown for a long while and at the start of the campaign I was still tentatively supporting him. However he (and to a lesser extent) the Labour party have done very little to convince me. His performance tonight lacked style and I don't think will have played well with many people. The casual language doesn't sit well at all and makes it seem forced. The other side of that coin was that I think a lot of what he said was good, and scored several good hits on the other two at points. On a side note, How David Miliband can claim that Gordon won straight after the debate is beggars belief.

Which brings me to Nick Clegg. I thought he convinced throughout and was strong in many areas. David Cameron's attacks on him were weak and came across as very petty and predictable, and Gordon Brown didn't manage to successfully attack his policies much. I especially thought that his performance when immigration was discussed was inspired and was my moment of the night. I'm unsure about how good his position on the subject is correct, but i thought he won that section of the debate convincingly.

Mark Yoxon said...

I agree.

The whole thing is absurd though. Fun to watch, but absurd.

Londonerr said...

Clegg's ending statement was waffle and bullshit. It didn't touch me.

Cameron was strong tonight.

Gordon needs a holiday, poor thing, and we need a holiday from him.

Mulligan said...

Obviously someone had reminded Brown to look at the camera but as hard as he tried he just coudln't do it. Mind you I find it hard to look anyone straight in the eyes when I'm telling porkies as well.

Mostly Ordinary said...

As much as I want Cameron to win I have to say his inability to win a debate against a fatally flawed Leader and a lightweight is depressing. What a shame David Davis isn't Leader.

Unknown said...

The spot light on the left side of the stage had a good showing
Then Brown, someone had to come after the spotlight, I mean it really had a good night of lighting.

As for the debate, did I really hear dave say he agreed with Gordon, so Clegg gets to say it is the same parties trying to keep the Libdems out.

I had a debate today with a real labour born and breed person, and they denied that it was a fight to keep the tories out at any cost, yet when asked why Gordo has said we must keep the tories out, well it isn't that way really.

Dave has lost it, but he will be PM, and I think Clegg should pu him over a barrel, otherwise Gordo will get over the barrel, as we know it is what he likes, and it will be Clegg/Brown..

Anonymous said...

Last week I thought Cameron won, but this week Cameron was disappointing. Again Gordon Brown attacked him on public spending cuts. Rather than put forward great arguments in support of public spending cuts like he did last week, David Cameron didn't really respond. Gordon Brown had Nick Clegg on the ropes, and in my opinion won tonight's debate.

John said...

Again, Brown won on substance. Cameron was better than he was last week, Clegg worse. It must be a worry for the Tories that their leader is simply not making an impact in the campaign. He is managing to lose the election the Tories couldn't lose...

Snotrocket said...

But there were many times when Cameron ws thrown by the subject. For example, it quite obvious that his support for climate change actions was not something he believed in his belly. Why couldn't he just cause a stir and say it was a crock?

But the main thing was, having been told that Clegg won it last time because he spoke direct to the camera, what did Cameron's advisors tell him to do? Yep. That's it, speak to the camera. Unfortunately, it just looked so contrived.

I shall vote Tory - but only by holding my nose!!! (But mainly because Brown was shit!)

Andy JS said...

They all performed well this week. There wasn't the clear ordering we saw last week of Clegg/Cameron/Brown.

I think both Cameron and Brown realised that they were a bit complacent last week as regards Clegg and made sure that didn't happen again.

I think the most of the polls in the next few days will be something like: C - 37%, Lab - 29%, LD - 25%

Nich Starling said...

And it is now being reported on Twitter that the Murdoch paid for YouGov poll started their polling before Nick Clegg's final statement.

Is there anything SKY/Murdoch/The SUN will not do to usurp democracy ?

I Squiggle said...

Interesting the amount of commentators/stooges/party fodder/MPs on duty saying that Gordon Brown was the best to deal with the financial crisis because he has the experience. That’s like saying the driver in a car crash is the best driver.

Freecloud said...

Cameron was poor, I'm sorry but you do have blue-tinted spectacles.

Clegg was clearly best again tonight; Brown looked tired and stale.

But Cameron was awful.

Navy Red said...

No matter your thoughts on each leader I am sure people will agree a much better staged debate. Adam let them run, with the steady hand when needed. Very assured performance from him and muck better than the ITV event last week. I think in the end Cameron won it, though he should have gone for the kill a few times on both the others. Clegg is weak on defence and showed it several times. Brown is like a dead man walking and I think he now realises it, he just doesn't seem with it. Mind you he did lay into Clegg on occasions.

wild said...

Clegg looked petulant and out of his depth, trying hard, and failing, to sound like a grown-up.

Brown was much better this week (sometimes actually listening to the others as he searched for one of his stock phrases) but he still looked bonkers. This is of course because he is bonkers.

Cameron looked assured, but less complacent, and with a hint of steel, but although he easily won the debate (in my opinion) it was not by a mile.

Jim Baxter said...

Seemed much more even. Brown picked up a bit, almost fell into a stride at a couple of points although whose strides I couldn't care.

Maybe some undecided people will be a bit more puzzled than they were last week and so have to look in depth a bit more before they make up their minds. Those who have minds to make up, that is. Clegg's claims to new politics already look a lot more shopworn and they weren't too sharp to begin with.

Anonymous said...

Clegg was just yadda yadda yadda. Motherhood and apple pie are wonderful. Vote for me. Let me kiss your baby.

Brown has been exposed as a bare faced liar - with a sickly grin. Leaflets? I see no leaflets!

Cameron did what he's been doing all over the country for years - coming across as normal. And as a mainstream conservative.

Treacle said...

It was very revealing when Brown told a questioner that she was a woman. It showed that he does not regard women as normal people. Any female viewer will have picked that up.

Osama the Nazarene said...

Yougov instant poll got it spot on - Cameron 36%, Clegg 32% & Brown 29%. Clegg was much worse than last week, Cameron much better and Brown improved marginally.

CityUnslicker said...

all the luck is with clegg, he drew the lots and got the last speech!

Dal Maclean said...

Cameron was pretty good - definitely the most reasonable and sane person there. Brown - I almost felt sorry for to be honest. Clegg - amnesty for illegals, no answer on nuclear deterrent or nuclear power - not to mention his poor attempt to pretend he isnt a Euro fanatic - hopefully people listened to the scary stuff he was was actually *saying* this time but Im not holding my breath. Its so sad that we the public UK flatter ourselves that we're cynical and wordly-wise compared to the poor gullible Americans yet we fall for Clegg who has the exact patronising, fake-sincerity technique of a US TV evangelist with a seasoning of Tony Blair - he even has Blair's hand movements as he speaks. Its politics by Cowell.

Steve Tierney said...

I thought Brown was a little better. Clegg looked weak. And Cameron had a clean win.

Anoneumouse said...

But what did Herman Van Rompuy think? which one of the puppets lived up to the European dream.

Are we are talking leaders' debates..... did Barosso have a point of view?

Unknown said...

Five instant polls, as reported over at The Guardian, and all from "allegedly" responsible polling organisations. Here are the results.

Populus - Clegg won
Clegg: 36%
Cameron: 27%
Brown: 27%

Guardian/ICM - Clegg won
Clegg: 33%
Cameron: 29%
Brown: 29%

ITV/ComRes - Clegg won
Clegg: 33%
Brown: 30%
Cameron: 30%

Angus Reid - Clegg won
Clegg: 35%
Cameron: 33%
Brown: 23%

YouGov - Cameron won
Cameron: 36%
Clegg: 32%
Brown: 29%

Average them out and you get:

Clegg: 33.8%
Cameron: 32.8%
Brown: 27.6%

So, whether you feel that you were wearing your "blue tinted" specs or not - And whether you like it or not, Cleggy's still doing good!

BTW, I was seriously impressed with your commitment to "clean" politics in your earlier post today. Good to see that there are people of integrity, regardless of political persuasion. I can only commend you for that!

Anoneumouse said...

But what did Herman Van Rompuy think? which one of the puppets lived up to the European dream.

Are we are talking leaders' debates..... did Barosso have a point of view?

Tapestry said...

Debates have had the effect of marginalising Brown. Cameron has been given a new target to shoot at.

Overall debates have played to his advantage, by highlighting that Brown is incompetent, and that Clegg's policies are impractical.

Polls are now moving in the right direction. People are starting to see Blair in Clegg. People do learn from past experience, it seems, unless they're 18 - 25.

Chrome Diplomat said...

Disagree with you thought Clegg/ Cameron very close all the way though Clegg just edged it in the second half of the debate (maybe even in closing statements).

Brown third but much better.

Btw- any thoughts on Nick Robinson's report that he has learnt that CCHQ were behind all the coordinated attacks on Clegg today?

(Not being smug, just genuinely interested in your thoughts given you post earlier)

Lee H said...

Have just seen the front page of the Mirror. I want to be on the drugs that Mcguire is on, or the planet. Is he operating in a different reality?

Unknown said...

Lets hope Cameron is saving his fire for the last debate.
He needs to do much better!

Roddy said...

Iain, lest we forget;

James Burr said...

I felt Cameron edged it but not so much because of what he did but because of what the others tried to paint him out to be. Cameron is a climate change-believing Europhile, but when the other two tried to paint him as a Eurosceptic Climate Change denier that must have made a lot of people sit up (bearing in mind recent polls show that some 60-70% of the public think it's a scam and most people want out of Europe, too).

Because of this I think many people think Cameron did better than he actually did because they suddenly had a feeling that there was a Tory leader stood there who was Euro-sceptic, critical of climate change and tough on immigration.

When you actually look at his performance though, he was hardly sparkling, he let a lot of silly claims and obvious lies go unchallenged and he just didn't connect as well with the audience as Clegg. However, as I say, I felt he made a better impression but again, I think it's mainly for the reason cited above.

James Burr said...

I voted on the Yougov poll. I can confirm that we had only 10 minutes to answer 3 or 4 questions ("Who was most convincing?", "Who seemed shifty or ill at ease?", "Will your vote change because of this debate" etc), and that we were told to log in at 9:25. I did so but it wasn't open. I tried again at 9:29 and it was allowing votes. I missed Clegg's final speech because of the 10 minute deadline. That said, I missed all the final speeches because of faffing around with my computer.

eoghan said...

Looking through yellowish glasses, I was actually most impressed with Brown. He landed some pretty painful blows on Clegg, sounded authoritative, held his own including defending some pretty tough positions, and didn't let himself down. One or two cringeworthy moments but although it was very tight between all three, I felt Brown edged it.

Clegg claimed not to prepare for tonight's debate and I believe him - it showed, in a positive way. He was even more relaxed and natural throughout and must have been convincing, once again, to the floating voter. However, when he was put under pressure, as he was frequently, mainly by Brown, he squirmed and wriggled and didn't come across well at all. His closing speech was easily the best - as good as Cameron's last week - and he had the advantage that it came at the end. He made a calculated gamble to ignore Boulton's frankly outrageous curveball (not outrageous that he threw the line in there, but outrageous that it was his only contribution...he should either have been throwing tough questions at all three leaders throughout, or not at all).

Cameron needed to raise his game and I thought, once again, was oddly subdued. He didn't do anything wrong, and clearly learned a lot of lessons from last week, but seemed a bit flat. I'm not sure it'll be enough to dampen Cleggmania on its own, but he held his own perfectly well without doing anything special.

Youtube moment of the night: the bloke yawning while Brown was speaking.

James Burr said...

Actually, thinking about it I did catch the last 20 seconds or so of Clegg's speech after spending 7 or 8 minutes on the computer so yes - I can confirm Yougov polling started before the final speeches (not just Clegg's but all of them).

javelin said...

On the down side the leaders still didn't mention the debt.

Between half and one million public sector jobs must go and absolutely nothing said.

Debt is 11% of GDP. The Greek crisis looks like it will be reaching a head just as the UK election is done and the markets will move to examine our fiscal position.

I think Cameron needs to have a well engineered crisis ASAP so that the public blame Labour for the cuts and not the other way around.

No matter who wins a sovereign debt crisis should come - through Lib-lab in denial or Torys by design.

Balls, Milliband, Johnson will all be tainted with the overspend and the crisis - so I predict Andy Burnham to be the next leader if a crisis happens sooner rather than later. (4 years ago I said Johnson should have been given the leadership - which was right then). Burnham would be my choice if I were Clegg.

Cynic said...

"an old stand-by of Tories "

the PM has authorised these lies in his own local campaign literature. He then just says 'i didn't do it personally'. Again, the McCavity defence and a refusal to accept personal responsibility

Cynic said...

The fundamental point for teh Conservatives to hammer home is simple.

Vote Clegg get Brown.

Janner said...


Averaging 5 polls is statistically dodgy

Anyway what are the margins of error on those polls? +/- 2 or 3%

It is clear that any of them could have 'won', whatever that means

Clegg did well, Brown was stolid, Cameron did better

Quote of the night Ed Balls asserting that GB answers questions!

Given the Chancellor's debate on Wednesday I think this series of debates will be determined by next Thursday

Brown has to defend 13 years of failure and the St vince halo effect has been broken

All for Cameron to play for

Unknown said...

Thought all three leaders did very well. As viewers we are happy to sneer and pick them up on gaffes etc but I thought the grasp of policy shown by all three of them have was hugely impressive.

When the guy asked about the Pope - question of the night by the way, no-one saw that coming - I almost gasped, 'how the hell are they going to answer that?!' only to watch all three of them roll out accomplished responses.

What I would say is that before the debates we were told that Cam would wipe the floor with Brown, that the latter would do well not to have a breakdown on camera. The fact that, given a point here or there, the two are roughly polling level in the debate polls is surely a blow for the Conservatives.

JAY said...

Cameron's performance was better than last time's but certainly not good enough for him to be declared winner. Clegg's bubble had clearly burst and he was definitely not as polished as last week. Brown was very strong on the big issues this time and will definitely do very well in next week's debate on the economy.

Gordon Brown's emphasis on substance, rather than Cameron's superficial gloss and style will ultimately win the day on May 6.

Unsworth said...

@ Despairing Liberal

Have you actually seen these leaflets - in particular the leaflets issued in Brown's constituency? If so, you presumably agree with the various 'dubious' assertions contained therein.

Unknown said...

Much as I hate Brown, his "Get Real!" slapdown of Clegg over Trident was priceless.

Paddy Briggs said...

What can Cameron do now?

My (pessimistic for a LibDem supporter) prediction for the percentage of the votes for the three main parties in the elction is as follows: Conservatives 36.5%; Labour 29%; Liberal Democrats 26.5%. This suggests that the LibDems will slip a bit over the next two weeks and that the Tories will be the beneficiary. Don’t ask me why – it’s just a gut feel. The outcome of my soothsayed election would give the following seat distribution: Conservatives 279; Labour 256 and the LibDems 83. With “others” taking 14 seats this means that the Conservatives, though the largest party, would be 47 seats short of an overall majority. Put another way if the two parties of the left ganged together they would have an overall majority over the Tories and the rest of 46. So what can Cameron do????

Pogo said...

I dunno who won... I turned it off when they got to wibbling about who was going to be the "greenest".

Victor, NW Kent said...

We can all read the polls but what I saw is clear - Clegg's halo slipped. I scored it Cameron as a clear winner - last week I made it Clegg a point ahead.

Brown's point about the Tory manifesto not including free eye tests was a silliness. Cameron put it to the sword very easily. A manifesto is not a 24 volume encyclopaedia. It did not include a promise that rapists would be punished if caught nor did it guarantee that public holidays would not be cut.

On that topic I am sure I heard Brown claim that this Labour government introduced paid leave! I started work in 1950 and was entitled to two weeks paid leave even then.

Anonymous said...

The best bit came when Brown said to deluded Clegg " Get Real". Whilst I am not a Labour voter, Brown took apart Clegg and deserves credit for this. Clegg and his brigade of CND would simply fritter away the Trident savings on paying the benfits of 900K illegal immigrants +plus their dependents when they are given amnesty. Further amnesties cannot be ruled out as the illegal immigrants emerge these days from thousands ofvisitors who are overstayed plus hundreds of thousands of so called students who come to do so called studies in hundreds of colleges and tens of new universities and drop out.
I would say Cameron and brown joint winners. Wnat to see Libdems in operation? Come to my borough-the schools have become much worse, the sreets are filthy and the Council Tax if anything higher than what Labour left. Only we foolish Brits vote for this bunch.

Liberal Observer said...

David Cameron - Alpha Male? :p

Anonymous said...

how anyone can say Cameron won that last night is astonishing.

He looks very much out of his depth talking about 'helly-copters' and his attitude towards the European Union.

Brown defended this country's position in Europe, and looked like the only man up there who knew what he was talking about.

Nich Starling said...

Norman, your arguments here are the worst kind of petty point scoring drivel that I have read in a long time.

Clegg's policy on immigrants is that they can gain citizenship if they have jobs and are not a burden on society (the total opposite of what your are stating). As for trident, need I point out that Joan Ruddock (Labour MP) was head of CND and unlike many Labour MPs, the Lib Dems are not unilateralists calling for an end to all UK nuclear weapons.

Anonymous said...

Norfolk Blogger: "Clegg's policy on immigrants is that they can gain citizenship if they have jobs and are not a burden on society (the total opposite of what your are stating)"
Clegg is talking about illegal immigrants (not immigrants as you put it)and as the title says, how can they have legally held jobs without them being legal immigrants? Ilegal immigrants if they have jobs pay them less than the minimum wage as they work in black economy without papers.
Now yours is a pure drivel, as pure a drivel as your leader Clegg said that he is for quota of immigrants for different areas in the country so that the area which needs immigrants should be able to get them. Hoe does he keep them there without ending up somewhere else. That is X-Factor politics of Cleggy.