Two polls are now putting the Lib Dems ahead of Conservative and Labour. No poll has put Lib Dems ahead since 1985, and all the polls are now agreeing that the gap between Lib Dems and the others is lower than the sampling error — in other words — we are truly neck and neck, and everything is to play for.
A Tory blogger is already claiming that this is all rubbish and he hasn’t noticed any of this on the doors. I don’t know what doors he’s been knocking on, but out on the streets of Shipston, Alcester, Tanworth and Claverdon, the story is totally different. People have been coming up to me for weeks telling me that they will vote for me for the first time because they are not satisfied with the Tory Central Office candidate here in Stratford. As of yesterday, people are walking up to me and saying “I have been a Tory voter all my life and I am voting for you for the first time because you have the finest leader in the land.”
It is changing. And it is likely to change more. Lab/Con spin doctors are saying that the Clegg will not have it his own way next time. My observation is this: in competitive situations, although the scores can reverse, they usually don’t. We all remember the great reversals of fortune because they make compelling stories. But, usually, the one who starts out in front increases their lead. I’ve seen this over and over again in competitive sports, and the psychology of sports is very similar to that of debate. Yes, anything can happen. But the most likely thing is that Clegg will solidify his dominance in the debates. Based on this week’s polls — and, again, anything can happen — this will be reflected in polls leads, and on election day.