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John Rentoul

John Rentoul is chief political commentator for The Independent on Sunday, and visiting fellow at Queen Mary, University of London, where he teaches contemporary history. Previously he was chief leader writer for The Independent. He has written a biography of Tony Blair, whom he admired more at the end of his time in office than he did at the beginning.

"The Independent's must-read man" - Daniel Finkelstein

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Labour Party fallen in hole

Posted by John Rentoul
  • Tuesday, 20 April 2010 at 10:39 pm
So when I claimed, in advance of last week's debate, to have a photograph of the event (right), I was not wrong.

We have had four new polls today, from Angus Reid, Populus, YouGov and ComRes. Add in ICM yesterday and the average from the five companies that are members of the British Polling Council with a track record (apart from Ipsos-MORI, which hasn't produced a poll since 22 March) is as follows:

Conservative  33
Labour             26
Lib Dem          31

Unless the Lib Dems achieve breakthrough at around 36, the key is the gap between Conservative and Labour, which has opened up a little in David Cameron's favour. Add a little extra for the Tories in the marginals, knock a little off Labour just in case the polls are still overstating them, and Cameron is leader of the largest party in a hung parliament by a comfortable margin.

I've got over my Sunday night Clegg-wobble. The best post-debate Lib Dem score, of 34 per cent in tonight's YouGov, is likely to be about their maximum, despite a YouGov finding that 49 per cent say they would vote Lib Dem if they thought they could win in their area (a repeat of a question asked on behalf of Mystic Meg Rentoul in 2005).

Although the workings of the minds of my fellow citizens are a partial mystery to me - I thought Cameron edged the debate - it is surely unlikely that there are still more hordes of people to whom it has not yet occurred that the Great Clegg is Obama, Jesus and Churchill rolled into one. It was not just the debate that inflated the Clegg bubble. It had already started to rise, and is still bouyant on the transformation story of the coverage since. So a good Clegg performance on Thursday, and next Thursday, is unlikely to produce a further boost.

It is beginning to look as if it was Gordon Brown who fell down the manhole last week.

Photograph: Joshua Peck.


Partial Mystery? U R totally on another planet
bryanmcgrath wrote:
Wednesday, 21 April 2010 at 01:50 am (UTC)
Anyone who can say "I thought Cameron edged the debate" most have fallen asleep (or been at the Blue Nun).

Agreed, given equal exposure with Brown and Cameron, Clegg would have to work at making a mess of things. However, the vacuous, "sound bite" answers given by Cameron came across, IMHO, as very poor. His performance since has been a mixed of the Hague/Howard retreat to the core vote (perhaps UKIP does have a purpose after all) and a spoilt brat "it isn't fair it's my turn".

Laurel and Hardy a.k.a. Cameron and Osborne will, at this rate, be retiring from front bench politics to spend more time with father-in-law's 3000 acres of Lincolnshire and Daddy posh wallpaper shop respectively


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