Peter Hoskin

If Brown-Morgan can’t move the polls, what about the TV debates?

If Brown-Morgan can't move the polls, what about the TV debates?
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Brace yourselves.  There's going to be poll after poll after poll in the weeks leading to the election.  And the onslaught starts in the Sun today, with the first of their YouGov daily tracker polls.  It is also the first to be conducted in the aftermath of the Brown and Morgan interview.

So what's the story?  Well, Labour's vote is more or less unmoved - suggesting, in turn, that the public were more or less unmoved by Brown's interview with Piers Morgan.  They're on 30 percent (down 1), with the Tories on 39 percent (up 1), and the Lib Dems on 18 (down 1).  That's a 9 point lead for the Tories.

Of course, you could say that this is because the public didn't like what they saw on the Brown interview.  But I suspect it's because they weren't really that interested in the first place.  After all, as Guido pointed out in a striking graph a few days ago, Brown pulled in fewer viewers than Morgan's chats with Jordan, Sir Cliff, Cilla, Ulrika Jonsson and, erm, Richard Madeley.

This rather puts those televised leader debates into context. Sure, they may be A Good Thing for connecting politics with the public. But, given that they're unlikely to have anything like the emotional content of the Morgan interview, it's doutbful that they'll make many, if any, significant waves.  

Indeed, the parties probably already realise that they only thing which might have any cut-through is a major mistake by one of their repsective leaders.  In which case, don't be surprised if Brown, Cameron and Clegg take a cautious approach: trying less to win, and more not to lose.