Why the Lib Dems could do even better than now expected

Millions could be voting Clegg right now, in the postal votes

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It has already become fashionable to suspect wearily that "Cleggmania" will not last until May 6, and perhaps it won't. But there is one factor that has not so far been discussed when it comes to measuring how many votes the Liberal Democrats may receive in this election.

Each election, around three million people vote by post. Of those, around half -- one and a half million -- return their voting forms early, after they receive them. They are being returned this week.

Now, traditionaly, a number of postal voters have been ex-pats, and the process has benefited the Tories. However, if the surge in support for Nick Clegg and his party is as real as it appears in the polls, he could be receiving thousands or even millions of votes right now.

James Macintyre is political correspondent for the New Statesman.