Ben Page, chief executive, Ipsos MORI: "It's a mug's game calling this election, with half the voters saying they may still change their minds."If this is a reflection of what actually happens on polling day, then I am in despair. Not only because it will mean that the constitutional reforms that Britain needs will be deferred again, but because the British public will have elected the worst of all possible options.
11 April: Hung parliament with the Tories 25 seats short of a majority.
18 April: Conservative lead, from 20 short of a majority to a majority of 20 seats.
Now: Conservative lead, from 20 short of a majority to a majority of 20 seats.
Robert Salvoni, President, Harris Interactive: "Cameron is viewed as the strongest leader, but he only has a few days left to convince the electorate that he is in touch with the nation and that his policies are strong enough to deliver on the challenges ahead."
11 April: Conservatives win with 2-10 seat majority.
18 April: Conservatives win with 10 seat majority.
Now: Conservatives win with 10 seat majority.
Martin Boon, head of social & government research, ICM Research:"It's fairly apparent to all that the debates were a real game changer and the Lib Dem surge means it's fairly impossible to predict the share of the vote, never mind seats."
11 April: Conservatives win with 20 seat majority.
18 April: Conservatives win with 15 seat majority.
Now: Hung parliament with the Conservatives four or five seats short of a majority.
Andrew Cooper, founder and strategic director, Populus: "There is nothing that Gordon Brown can do to recover his position. They are rejecting him, his arguments and his government. Labour are likely to be not merely defeated, but purged."
11 April: Conservatives win with 10+ seat majority.
18 April: Conservatives win with 10+ seat majority.
Now: Conservatives win with an overall majority of 10+ seats.
Andrew Hawkins, executive chairman, ComRes: "Had Gordon Brown or David Cameron seen Michael Cockerell's excellent documentary 'How to win a TV debate' they would never have agreed to it."
11 April: Conservatives win with 32 seat majority.
18 April: Hung parliament with the Conservatives 11 seats short of a majority.
Now: Hung parliament with the Conservatives 11 seats short of a majority.
Andy Morris, research director, Vision Critical: "The first debate was the defining moment of the campaign. The Lib Dem surge that followed caused a redefinition of campaign tactics by all three parties."
11 April: Conservatives win with 40-50 seat majority.
18 April: Conservatives win with 30-40 seat majority.
Now: Hung parliament with the Conservatives between one and 10 seats short of a majority.
Johnny Heald, managing director, Opinion Research Business: "Labour's defence of their title never really got going ... and there must be slight questions over their strategy. The momentum appears to be with Cameron. "
11 April: Conservatives win with 40+ seat majority.
18 April: Conservatives win with 40+ seat majority.
Now: Conservatives win with a 20+ seat majority. (1)
Obviously, a Lib-Lab coalition (or a minority Labour government with confidence and supply support would have been the best option. A Labour or (don't snigger) Lib Dem majority would have been next best, followed by a Lib-Tory joint project. A Tory majority would have been the worst, and the pollsters seem to think this is what we will have, once Friday morning drags itself around.
I just can't imagine the Tories being anything other than awful. Look at how they have coped with the current enthusiasm for the Lib Dems - it has completely up-ended them. The Tories are hopeless. Since the first debate, they've been completely clueless. There campaign consists of "No More Gordon! Free Money! Um ... No More Gordon! Free Money!"
Can you imagine that shower of self wetting spineless wimps dealing with a crisis in the real world, rather than a hiccup in their friggin' campaign? "Terrorism in London? Well, at least we're not Gordon. Have some free money ..."
The Tories are promising tax cuts and, at the same time, deficit reduction, based on savings which can't really be taken very seriously, while at the same time promising services won't be affected. Hopeless. In fact, it's worse than that, it's completely delusional, the sort of crazed visionary stuff promised by the more out there religious sects. Ponzi would be embarrassed by the Osbourne theory of economic management. If David Cameron was Mohammed, he wouldn't be promising prospective martyrs seventy virgins on their entry to paradise, he'd be saying they didn't even need to worry about the nasty martyrdom bit first.
And the Tories want to start it now, while the economy is still scratching its head and wondering if it should just slump back into recession. Idiocy.
1 - "Tory lead widens to 10 points as Lib Dems slip," by Jane Merrick. Published in The Independent, 2nd of May, 2010. (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/tory-lead-widens-to-10-points-as-lib-dems-slip-1960371.html)