James Forsyth

Can Clegg be caught?

Can Clegg be caught?
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Following this weekend’s release of a YouGov poll that showed Nick Clegg ahead of Chris Huhne by 56 to 44, the Clegg camp have released their own internal numbers which show him with 61 percent of the vote. But things might not be as comfortable for the front runner as these figures suggest. A party source tells the BBC that only around half of party members have voted so far. Those who’ve delayed sending in their ballots must have noticed how Huhne has been dominating the air waves in recent days while Clegg has been nowhere.

If Clegg wins, the next hurdle for him is to beat Huhne by a larger margin than Ming Campbell did, Campbell won 57 to 42 in second round. If Clegg fails to better this result despite all the advantages that he possessed at the beginning of the contest, it would show what a damp squib his leadership campaign has been and minimise the momentum that he would accrue from his victory.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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