The New Statesman’s rolling politics blog


So who won last night? Don't ask the Times

The Times they are a-changin' (their minds).

Reading most newspaper headlines this morning you get the impression they had been written long before last night's televised leaders' debate had even started. So we had, predictably enough:

  • 'Cam's The Man' The Sun
  • 'One Foot in the Dave' Daily Mirror
  • 'Cameron Fights Back' Daily Telegraph

No such decisiveness over at the Times. Here are the two front pages that emerged overnight, based confusingly on the same Populus poll commissioned by the paper. The first reading of the poll puts Nick Clegg and David Cameron both on 36 per cent.


A bit of number crunching later, and it would seem Cameron is a point ahead. And hence:


UPDATE: The Times communications people have been in touch. They write:

"The first edition of The Times went to press at 10.30pm on the basis of 900 respondents to our Populus poll, which was critical mass although the full count had not finished. The first results were Cameron 36; Clegg 36; Brown 27. The second edition went to press at 11.45pm with the full results in - a one percentage point lead to Cameron on the final count of 1067 respondents. The fact that we had clearly not written our headlines in advance of the debate shows that we rightly respond to evidence, not that we lack decisiveness. This is exactly the value of having two editions to report on stories that are developing late at night."


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