ITV News Index TV Debates
Public poll for ITV News on televised leaders debates.

COMRES / ITV NEWS POLL: SUPPORT FOR EMPTY-CHAIRING DAVID CAMERON ON THE RISE

As Lord Grade steps in to the election debates row, the latest poll conducted by ComRes for ITV News reveals that nearly two thirds of the population (63%) believe broadcasters should leave an empty spot for David Cameron if he refuses to turn up to the Leaders’ Debates – an increase of nine points since January. Seven in ten (71%) think the TV debates between the leaders should go ahead, even if the Prime Minister does not take part - an increase of seven points since January.

David Cameron is the only party leader seen by the majority of the British public not to want the TV debates to happen, with almost two thirds (64%) choosing this option. Around two thirds of British adults agree that the Prime Minister has damaged his reputation by trying to avoid the TV debates (64%), an increase of nine percentage points since January.

Additionally, the majority of the public agree that the Prime Minister is acting cowardly in trying to avoid TV debates with the other leaders (59%), an increase of seven percentage points since January.

Ed Miliband (72%) and Nigel Farage (71%) are most likely to be thought to want the debates to happen and two thirds of Britons agree that Mr Miliband is right to challenge the Prime Minister to a debate “any time, any place, anywhere” (65%). The public are split over whether he looks desperate in his challenge of a debate though (41% agree and 42% disagree).

Nigel Farage is most likely to be expected to perform the best in a TV debate (32%). Natalie Bennett is the leader expected to perform the worst (31%). The public are relatively split over the prospective performances of both David Cameron and Ed Miliband; with the Conservative leader expected to perform best by slightly more people than those who expect Ed Miliband to perform best (27% to 24%).

DETAILED FINDINGS:

  1. Do you think each of the party leaders wants the TV debates between the leaders to go ahead or not?
Statement Wants them to happen Does not want them to happen Don’t know
David Cameron, Conservative leader 15% 64% 21%
Ed Miliband, Labour leader 72% 8% 20%
Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat leader 63% 10% 27%
Nigel Farage, UKIP leader 71% 6% 22%
Natalie Bennett, Green Party leader 58% 10% 32%

Base: GB adults (n=2,026).

  1. If a TV debate were to go ahead between the leaders of the political parties, which of the following do you think would perform best / worst?
Statement Best Worst
Nigel Farage, UKIP leader 32% 16%
David Cameron, Conservative leader 27% 21%
Ed Miliband, Labour leader 24% 19%
Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat leader 11% 12%
Natalie Bennett, Green Party leader 5% 31%

Base: GB adults (n=2,026).

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Date Published
11th March 2015
Client
ITV News
Methodology
METHODOLOGY: ComRes interviewed 2,026 British adults online between 6th and 8th March 2015. Data were weighted to be representative of all GB adults aged 18+. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

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