With the seven-way debate getting underway tonight, who will come out strongest? What do the betting markets say?
The historic seven-way debate, which is to include Ed Miliband, David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Nigel Farage, Natalie Bennett (for the Greens), Nicola Sturgeon (for the SNP) and Leanne Wood (of Plaid Cymru), will be an interesting spectacle and a messy one perhaps with so many different voices in conflict.
The debate will begin at 8pm on the BBC News Channel and ITV.
The Labour leader did well in last week’s battle for Number Ten where he and David Cameron were interviewed and also questioned by the audience. If he comes across just as well tonight, especially in constrast with David Cameron he could benefit.
However, he faces a tough task on the left, with Nicola Sturgeon, Leanne Wood and Natalie Bennett vying to get voters to switch from his party to their’s.
Sure David Cameron struggled in last week’s battle for Number Ten, but expectations have now been raised for Ed Miliband, something which could benefit the Prime Minister if he comes across as more statesmanlike and articulates popular policies well. However, with Nigel Farage a few feet from him he could be in for a tough ride.
UKIP are about to get a share of the vote in the election unprecedented even five years back. However, the party have been struggling in the polls recently, but with Nigel Farage being the personality he is if he reinforces his outsider status then he is likely to do very well.
Unless Nigel Farage does something drastically wrong it his hard to imagine him not performing well.
Back in 2010 Nick Clegg proved very popular in the debates and he still retains the same charisma and determination he did back then so the debates might help, but with his party lagging in the polls and having suffered over the last five years this will undoubtedly affect his performance. He may come of better than some would think, but he is unlikely to be a clear winner.
The new first minister of Scotland certainly has the debating ability and charisma of someone who could win. In a Scotland only debate she would be a safe bet, however, with a UK-wide audience she will not do so well. Nonetheless, her anti-Tory, anti-austerity message might work to make non-Scottish voters sympathetic to her cause.
It’s safe to say the Green leader for England and Wales will not win the debate. Her recent "car crash interview" did not exactly help her, but tonight offers her the chance to reshape her image. If she knows her facts and articulates them well then she could do better that anticipated.
As with Nicola Sturgeon, Leanne Wood will struggle with the UK-wide audience, but could benefit from her anti-austerity message.
What do the betting markets say?
William Hill indicates that UKIP's Nigel Farage has the best chance with odds of 6/4, ahead of both Ed Miliband and David Cameron on 10/3 each.
These odds are for the “best performer in the ComRes instant reaction poll.”
But who will do the worst? Natalie Bennet’s odds for having the worst performance are 2/1, whilst Leanne Wood’s are 3/1.
Additionally, the odds for the “deficit” being mentioned by anyone are 1/100, whilst the odds for the phrase “Are you alright Ed” currently stand at 10/1.
All the William Hill odds can be accessed here. (Last checked 2/4/2015 at 13:55)
Will you be watching the debate? Who do you think will win on the night? Who will do the worst?