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Saturday, April 17, 2010

I don't do polls but today I will make an exception

To be honest I am a bit stunned. It has nearly always been the case that the Liberal Democrats improve their poll ratings as people see more of them during a General Election campaign, however the surge in the last few days is unprecedented.

I understand that on the morning of the "Prime Ministers" debate, YouGov already had a poll showing a 4% increase in the Liberal Democrat share on their previous daily poll. Then there was a new ICM for the Sunday Telegraph showing a massive 7% boost for the Lib Dems at 27%, over their previous poll four days earlier. This poll was taken the day before and the day of the debate, with only a small part of the fieldwork done after the debate.

Following the debate The Sun published a poll that showed the Liberal Democrats up eight points on 30%, three points behind the Tories but in second place, a whole two points ahead of Labour.

Now we have a Sunday People poll that actually puts the Liberal Democrats in the lead on 33% with the Conservatives on 27 and Labour on 23. Just in case you think this is a fluke The Mail on Sunday have a poll with the Liberal Democrats on 32%, the Conservatives on 31% and Labour on 28%.

There is still a long way to go and no doubt these poll ratings will change but I cannot help but think that the party has crossed a rubicon. Let us not forget when Nick Clegg said that we needed to move from one in four votes to one in three to get into government our opponents laughed. When we argued that Nick Clegg should take part in the Prime Ministerial debates the others said he could never be Prime Minister.

They are laughing on the other side of their face now and no matter what happens in the next 19 days, they can never argue again that the Liberal Democrats are not major players. Three party politics has arrived and it is here to stay.
Today, Peter, we are all 'doing' polls, but let's not get too carried away just yet. Nick Clegg did well, but there are two more debates and a relentless Tory onslaught to endure before 6th May.

For me personally, Nick's performance has re-energised my previously waning interest in politics and the Liberal Democrats, so much so that, as a former Lib Dem activist, I would have been out campaigning were it not for my politically restricted job.

The footing is now more equal, and with that comes greater exposure - but also greater scrutiny. If it does result in a hung Parliament where Lib Dems hold the balance of power, let's hope we don't bottle it and throw away the chance of a generation. I remember the debacle when the Welsh Lib Dems threw away the opportunity to turf out Labour in the Assembly due to our overly-cumbersome internal democratic arrangements. Sometimes our biggest strength as a party can also be our biggest weakness.

Should it be a hung Parliament, Let's hope that the 'triple lock' of Parliamentary Party, Federal Executive and Federal Conference can be unlocked and the door to power opened - provided the deal is the right one and that, of course, must include the Single Transferrable vote.
Super news, even if it does fade a bit.

Sort of answers Plaid's - truly toe-curling - grizzling about why their leader wasn't involved too, doesn't it?
Just a follow-up, I read this morning that we in Wales shan't have Newsnight on Thursday following the second Leaders' Debate ... instead, for the sake of 'balance', we are supposed to sit through a 45 minute interview with the Plaid leader - just him, no opponents to debate with him. Aside from the immense dullness that will occasion, and the feeling that PC will be lucky to escape scrutiny, I'd much prefer to see the analysis of the UK debate.

Surely we should all protest to the BBC?

Ps: following the hilarious interview on Dragon's Eye, has Elfyn Llwyd yet managed to name anywhere one of the 'lots of countries' he said already had Plaid's exciting policy of a national MAXIMUM wage?!
"Sort of answers Plaid's - truly toe-curling - grizzling about why their leader wasn't involved too, doesn't it?"

No, it proves that Plaid were right to complain!

On Plaid or Ieuan Wyn Jones escaping scrutiny, you're wrong. Ieuan was on the Sky debate against your Welsh party leader and came out of it very well indeed.
Considering that Ieuan Wyn Jones is Deputy First Minister and that you and your chums have been deriding Kirsty for so long I think the weight of expectation was on her not him. I thought she did brilliantly to not just hold her own but shine in the debate.
I, for one, will not be sitting through 45 minutes of the nauseating IWJ. He is the ultimate personification of the mediocrity of many of the so-called polititians that ply their trade in the National Assembly.

If Paxo gives him his usual treatment, he'll expose the total and utter irrelevance of Plaid in this general election campaign.
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