Having stolen the show from the leaders of Britain’s two largest parties during a televised debate last Thursday, Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, has seen his party surge in the polls to such an extent that he is suddenly at the center of what one British reporter is calling “the hysterical condition known as Cleggmania.”Read the rest here.
Just days after he was the third man of the British election campaign, Mr. Clegg now finds himself compared to Winston Churchill, Barack Obama, Princess Diana and even Jesus. The fact that some of those comparisons were made in jest by supporters of other candidates, in an attempt to pierce what the Conservative mayor of London, Boris Johnson, claims is “the biggest load of media-driven nonsense since the funeral of Diana,” is perhaps the most telling sign that support for the third party is now seen as a genuine threat, less than three weeks from election day.
Immediately after last week’s debate, supporters of the other parties suggested that Mr. Clegg’s performance was irrelevant, since his party was lagging in the polls and the vagaries of the British electoral map meant that he stood little chance of becoming prime minister. By Monday though, one poll put his approval rating at 72 percent, more than 50 percent ahead of his nearest rival, another showed his party picking up ten points and a third suggested that the electorate was now split roughly in three, with the Liberal Democrats slightly ahead of both the ruling Labor party and the Conservatives.