Could the PM, like Davis in 2005, have ended up on top?
Yesterday while we were getting contradictory statements on a Brown-Cameron TV debate I dug up the above YouGov poll up for a national paper which had commissioned me to do a piece on the main contenders’ chances.
The November 2005 poll I found was of Tory party members does raise questions over whether Cameron would have been the overwhelming debate winner with Brown as many have been suggesting. That survey took place immediately after the leadership encounter and most observers had written off Davis beforehand.
Following the conference a few weeks earlier in 2005 the mood of the Tory party had switched sharply away from David Davis to David Cameron because it was widely felt that he was the better communicator. The BBC event put a halt to that and there was a bit of a swing back to Davis in the betting.
Davis was helped then, and this would be a factor now if Brown changed his mind, by exceedingly low expectations. But the Davis team had seen the event as a possible game-changer and had flung everything in to getting their man prepared.
Could the same happen with Brown? My guess is yes and perhaps Team Cameron ought to tone their enthusiasm down. When you are as far ahead as they are at the moment introducing anything that could change voters views’ is fraught with danger.