YouGov’s latest poll suggests that just 22% of the electorate think the Prime Minister genuinely wants to have a televised debate with other leader.
The poll comes at the same time that Ed Miliband, Nigel Farage and Nick Clegg have all written letters to David Cameron asking him to debate and they will continue if he refuses, according to the BBC. This follows news that David Cameron does not want a debate without the Green Party.
David Cameron is sending the signal that he is running scared. The 22% thinking he wants to actually have a debate at all illustrates this, compared to the 70% who think Nigel Farage really wants a debate, the 51% for Ed Miliband and the 44% for Nick Clegg.
It’s understandable why the Prime Minister would not want to participate. He is an insider, leading the country in tough times. He would not have an underdog status. But that’s no reason for him to runaway from the debates. He is charismatic, energetic and the debates would give him a chance to defend his record and let the public judge.
As for Nigel Farage, he clearly wants to go ahead with the debates, and 70% of people agree. The UKIP leader is a complete outsider, and new to the big political league. He can attack the Conservatives and the Lib Dems on their current records and can attack Labour on its past records. It’s no wonder so many think he is genuinely interested in participating.
It’s also clear why 51% think Ed Miliband is serious about participating. Labour - at the moment - is an outsider party. The debates will give Mr Miliband a chance to attack the coalition partners on their records this government.
As for the Lib Dems, Nick Clegg performed well in 2010’s debates. The party received a boost in the polls, and a repeat of Clegg’s 2010 performance could help the party in 2015.
The poll also suggests that the public think David Cameron should commit to the debate if the Green Party leader does not get a seat at the table. 54% of respondents said he should participate in this case, compared to the 27% who said he should refuse to take part.
This all follows David Cameron's decision to not participate in Bite The Ballot's leaders live discussions with young people.
The Prime Minister could well beleive that he should not participate unless the Greens are included, but his refusal to debate sends a signal that he is running scared, whether that is true or not.
The full results of the poll can be found here. 1649 GB adults were surveyed between the 11th and 12th January.
Should David Cameron commit to the TV debates regardless of whether of not the Greens are included?