Today's newspapers are digesting the results of the first live leaders debate. There is a consensus that it has given the Lib Dems a major breakthrough
Polls published today said that 23% of the 9m viewers who watched the debate said they would switch their vote as a result, with most going to the Lib Dems.
The Conservative Party are reviewing their election strategy as a result, and are now looking for ways to actively undermine the Lib Dem bandwagon.
Although concerned, the Labour Party do not feel as exposed by the development believing that swing voters may go to the Lib Dems, as opposed to the Conservatives, effectively splitting the Tory vote.
The Guardian, published a list of points the Tory PR machines might use to attack Clegg. The Drum publishes a version here which has been adapted with one or two points from other publications:Call him a career politician: His claim to be a man of the people lacks credibility; he has been a full time politician since 1999.Challenge his judgement: He used to back the European currency, now admits the eurozone interest rates would damage the UK economy.Point out he is particularly liberal on the immigration front: The party says it will grant citizenship to illegal immigrants on an earned basis; an amnesty for illegal immigrants by another name?Question his honesty: A recent Lib Dem poster saying the Tories will raise VAT has been branded dishonest, as the Tories have never said they would do any such thing.Say he might be soft on crime: He plans to replace 6 month jail sentences with community serviceQuestion his maths: Lib Dems say they will save £4.6b by closing tax avoidance loopholes. The Institute of Fiscal Studies says this is ‘highly speculative’.Attack is motives. Plans for proportional representation will help the Lib Dems more than any other party.Highlight his track record: The Lib Dems are very close to Labour, so much show that they recently shared coalition Government of Scotland. Is a vote for them really a vote for change?
But there is no doubt that these televised debates have transformed the General Election campaign. It proves that the power of traditional media is alive and well and the black art of the media advisor is more relevant now than ever before.