Latest Channel 4 News:
Row over Malaysian state's coins
'Four shot at abandoned mine shaft'
Rain fails to stop Moscow wildfires
Cancer blow for identical twins
Need for Afghan progress 'signs'

Poll of polls: leaders debate special

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 23 April 2010

The polls record a photo finish as Clegg is just ahead of Cameron after the leaders debate'. Professor Leighton Vaughan Williams, of Nottingham Business School's Political Forecasting Unit, examines the latest evidence.

There are five instant debate polls out, three of which have Nick Clegg on top, with two giving the crown to David Cameron. In two of the polls, Gordon Brown shares second place with David Cameron. Taking an average of the polls, the Liberal Democrat leader scores 33.4 per cent, the Conservative leader 32.8 per cent and the Labour leader is on 27.6 per cent.

Polling Commentary
There are five debate polls now out, each published on the basis of the responses of those watching the debate, who were asked in one form or another which candidate had performed best. Two of the polls have David Cameron and Nick Clegg split at the top of the pack by just one percentage point, while one has the Liberal Democrat leader three and another four points clear of both the Labour and Tory leaders. The brightest spot for David Cameron was the poll issued first, by YouGov for the Sun, which put him four points clear. Two of the polls see Brown and Cameron level pegging in second place.

Election debate polls
Angus Reid/PB: Clegg, 33, Cameron 32, Brown 23
ComRes/ITV News: Clegg 33, Brown 30, Cameron 30
ICM/Guardian: Clegg 33, Brown 29, Cameron 29
Populus/Times: Cameron 37, Clegg 36, Brown 27
YouGov/Sun: Cameron 36, Clegg 32, Brown 29

Interestingly, ComRes also asked their panel of 2,691 debate watchers who they would actually vote for. This put the Liberal Democrats in the lead on 36 per cent, with 35 per cent for the Conservatives and 24 per cent for Labour. This result may perhaps be partly explained by their respondents’ answer to the question of which party leader gave the most honest answers in the debate. Clegg won this comfortably with 43 per cent of the vote, compared to 29 per cent for Cameron and 23 per cent for Brown.

There is one national poll out today, by YouGov for the Sun, but it was conducted entirely before the debate. This puts the Conservatives on 34 per cent, Labour on 29 per cent and the Liberal Democrats on 28 per cent.

The Political Forecasting Unit 'polling tracker', again based on surveys conducted before the debate, has the Conservatives on 33 per cent, the Liberal Democrats on 30 per cent and Labour on 28 per cent. Assuming a uniform national swing, Labour would on this basis win 275 seats in the House of Commons, the Conservatives 245 seats and the Liberal Democrats 99 seats, all within a handful of seats of what is projected by the poll of polls. This would leave Labour 51 short of an overall majority. The markets agree that no one party is likely to win a majority in the House of Commons.

The polling tracker is based on recent surveys by different polling organisations, and is adjusted so that the more recent the survey the more weight is attached to the vote shares. There is also some statistical smoothing which has the effect that outliers or vote shares that diverge most from the general consensus are allocated less weight.

Election barometer
The Political Forecasting Unit's 'election barometer', designed to capture the changing state of the race as it unfolds through the campaign, shows the Conservatives on 33 per cent, three points ahead of the Liberal Democrats on 30 per cent, with Labour on 28 per cent. Labour would still win in terms of seats, however, assuming a uniform national swing.
An analysis of the money bet in political betting markets also suggests that no party will secure a majority of the seats in the House of Commons.

Daily poll of polls
Conservative: 34 per cent
Labour: 29 per cent
Liberal Democrat: 28 per cent

PFU polling tracker (recent polls, weighted)
Conservative: 33 per cent
Liberal Democrat: 30 per cent
Labour: 28 per cent

Outcome (Based on polling tracker, assuming national swing reproduced in every constituency)
Conservatives: 245 seats
Labour: 275 seats
Liberal Democrat: 99 seats
Other: 31 seats
Labour short of an overall majority by 51.

Where the money is (Analysis based on money wagered on the election in political betting markets)
Conservative: 306 seats
Labour: 226 seats
Liberal Democrat: 84 seats
Other: 34 seats
Conservatives short of an overall majority by 20 seats.

% chance of Conservative overall majority: 36.8 per cent
% chance of Labour overall majority: 4.9 per cent
% chance of Liberal Democrat overall majority: 1.6 per cent
% chance of No overall majority: 56.7 per cent
(Chances based on odds from betting exchanges)

Professor Leighton Vaughan Williams is Director of the Political Forecasting Unit at Nottingham Business School.

Send this article by email

More on this story

Channel 4 is not responsible for the content of external websites.

Watch the Latest Channel 4 News

Watch Channel 4 News when you want

Latest Vote 2010 news

More News blogs

View RSS feed

Winners and losers


What can we expect from the Con-Lib Dem coalition government?

Cabinet connections

The Con-Lib coalition Cabinet (Reuters)

Who Knows Who looks for "new politics" in the Con-Lib Cabinet

Marriage of convenience

Wedding cake (Getty)

Can former political rivals make the Con-Lib coalition work?

Missing women?


With four women cabinet members has old politics really ended?

The rise and fall of Brown


The events that defined and ended Brown's political career.

Sibling rivalry?


Who Knows Who finds out who could replace Gordon Brown.

Loss leaders

Jacqui Smith (Getty)

Jacqui Smith is one of several high- profile election losers.

Election night in 60

Blue Big Ben

From single-party rule to a hung parliament in one minute.

Election results - live blog

Live blog teaser

Missed the day? Read our live blog to see how it happened.

Channel 4 © 2010. Channel 4 is not responsible for the content of external websites.