Peter Hoskin

The morning after the debate before

The morning after the debate before
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So, like last week: what's changed?  And, like last week, it's probably too early to judge.  The insta-polls may have Cameron and Clegg on level footing, but, really, we need to wait for voting intention polls before coming to any firm conclusions.  As we saw the day after the first debate, they can work in quite surprising ways.

My instinct, though, is that things will remain relatively steady.  The Clegg surge of last week was, at root, a cry for change from the electorate – any change.  So it will probably take more than a solid Cameron victory in one TV debate to have voters flooding back to the Tories.  And it will probably take worse than a decent enough performance from Nick Clegg to shoot down the yellow bird of liberty.  At best, the Tories can hope to have stalled the Clegg bandwagon – and they'll still have to put in a major shift, over the next couple of weeks, to avoid a hung parliament.

And what about Gordon?  I thought that, his leaflet moment aside, he was on surprisingly effective form last night – but it's still not surprising that he has finished last in all of the polls so far.  If this keeps Labour third in the polls, then both they and the Lib Dems have some major questions to ponder.  Can Brown remain leader of his party?  Can the Lib Dems join forces with a party which comes below them in the popular vote?  And so on.

In the meantime, CoffeeHousers, prepare yourselves for two of the most uncertain  – and potentially decisive – weeks that our politics has seen for some time.  We live in turbulent times.