Election Debates’ seven-member adjudication panel has give the third UK leaders’ debate to Nick Clegg in a split decision.
Three judges gave the debate to Nick Clegg, two to David Cameron and two to Gordon Brown.
There was less division about the loser – five judges had Brown last.
View the debate here (courtesy of the BBC and C-Span)
Read the transcript here (courtesy of the BBC)
Below are the decisions and brief comments of judges. Scroll down for detailed individual analysis of from each adjudicator.
As always, Election Debates strives to bring you objective, rational analysis of the debate, free from the usual political spin.
Winner: David Cameron – Scores: Cameron 85 |Clegg 80 | Brown 77
David Cameron gave a brilliant performance in the final debate. He achieved three things simultaneously. He seemed Prime Ministerial – strong, positive and composed; he put Nick Clegg under real pressure over his policies on the Euro, immigration and VAT; he also held Gordon Brown responsible for his record and effectively exposed his scaremongering tactics.
Winner: Gordon Brown – Scores: Brown 80 | Cameron 75 | Clegg 74
A clear victory for Gordon Brown. He was the only candidate to ask questions of the others he sounded authoritative on most of the issues and was able to best the others during interactions. Clegg lost it in two places immigration where he was downright contradictory and banks where his answer was scripted and shallow. Cameron did well on the later questions but , strangely, less well on the economy. He did show a willingness to engage in this debate but did not do terribly well when he did particularly on business tax.
Winner: Nick Clegg – Scores: Clegg 75 | Cameron 74 | Brown 73
Overall a poor debate with a lack of real economic analysis from any speaker. Clegg wins because while if flopped on the banks his arguments on taxation fairness, openness about necessary cuts, realism on immigration and housing seemed more honest. Cameron comes a poor second because he landed more blows on a tired looking Brown.
Winner: Nick Clegg – Scores: Clegg 81 | Cameron 80 | Brown 77
Being the last debate in a series of three, it was important that the ‘degree of separation’ (distinction between policies on the same issues) was distinct and unequivocal. In this respect, I felt that the debate was much closer than hitherto and the necessary separation something of an opportunity that all three candidates seemed less well-able to grasp. In this, Clegg seemed to be the braver of the three, tactfully admitting that there were “no guarantees” and conceding that austerity measures that might not be so acceptable to all would be necessary to rectify the chaos (in immigration, banking, etc) that was the legacy of previous government drawn from the two major parties (Labour and Conservative).
Winner: Gordon Brown – Scores: Brown 77 | Clegg 75 | Cameron 73
This was by a distance the lowest quality debate of the series, not helped by the moderator. Brown was on top on the economy but not by too much over Clegg. Cameron appeared uncertain over banks and tax – which was odd in an economy themed debate. Brown did well on immigration but apart from that there was little to separate the three in the second half. I give this to Brown as he seemed up for a debate; he was willing to cross question on practically every subject though he didn’t win all of the exchanges. Clegg thinks he has the winning formula in these debates and he is very good at getting his main point across on each question. Cameron landed no punches; he was not as combative as Brown and not as stylish as Clegg.
Winner: Nick Clegg – Scores: Clegg 82 | Cameron 80 | Brown 75
Nick Clegg went out swinging. This debate may have lacked the specificity that the questions provided, but Clegg seemed to get past the prepared points and actually attempted the most amount of clash. He handily used his position on stage to a great metaphorical advantage. He repetitively secured his position against the damage as a result of the “two old parties”. Cameron performed quite well in this round. He was clearer in his talking points and mounted a lot of strong attacks on Brown. But he didn’t quite manage to extricate himself out of the inheritance tax bit as much as I would like, nor did he generate strong positive matter. In debate terms, he was way too rebuttal heavy. The was by far the poorest performance that Brown has had. Some might claim that the events of the previous day might have weighed him down a bit, but he certainly do himself any favours by being incredibly redundant. His confidence was visibly lacking and his frustration could have been managed better.
Winner: David Cameron – Scores: Cameron 79 | Clegg 77 | Brown 74
This was a debate characterised by a great deal of negativity and criticisms of other parties’ policies; when it came to defending and supporting their own arguments and plans, the leaders seemed less sure-footed. David Cameron put in his best performance of the three debates after a relatively shaky start, but seemed light on substance. Nick Clegg was again engaging and, except for a couple of answers, generally assured. Gordon Brown’s repeated attacks on the Conservatives will have divided viewers, with supporters feeling that his challenges went unanswered and everyone else probably seeing him as relentlessly negative.