“Thankfully, we’re not up against the X-Factor or Britain’s Got Talent,” joked Gordon Brown, adding that he hoped large numbers of the British public were watching and engaging with last night’s debate. And judging by the buzz on Facebook and Twitter and around the water-coolers of the nation‘s offices this morning, millions of you were.
Dubbed ‘the Grazia election’ by the Prime Minister himself, it’s the most hotly-contested fight in recent political history and last night’s much-anticipated inaugural television debate between the three party leaders didn’t disappoint.
But who came out on top for you?
The ‘exit polls’ for ITV1 instantly named Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg the outright winner, with 43% of viewers naming him the most impressive of the three. David Cameron claimed second place, with 26% of votes, while Gordon Brown limped into third place with a less-than-impressive 20%.
Today’s Times reveals even more dramatic figures. Their online poll has 61% of voters saying Clegg won the night, compared with 22% for Cameron and 17% for Brown.
Has the television debate suddenly turned a two-horse race into something far more interesting? Are you now favouring a hung Parliament, with Clegg playing a more pivotal role, than a traditional Labour or Conservative win?
Facebook commentaries last night were agog with Clegg’s performance, praising his confident, calm performance, and also his ‘dishiness’, not apparently noted previously. The ‘budget’ ITV1 set, and the eerily silent audience (no clapping, cheering or booing allowed) was the butt of many jokes.
On Twitter, it was noted that ‘All three of them look like the same man getting older’ and that ‘Blair would have all three for breakfast in this format’.
Chris Addison, star of political satire The Thick of It commented: “There’s a guy in the audience with his arms crossed, chewing gum. I think he represents the British public.”
But how was it for you?
Was Brown too aggressive and Cameron too concerned with anecdotes?
Did the public have lower expectations of Clegg which were easier to exceed, or is he the new golden boy of British politics?
And, the question he might be asking himself today - can he keep the momentum up for the next two television debates and three more tooth-and-nail weeks of campaigning?
by Jane Mulkerrins