TV election debates: some clues to likely political impact

The latest ICM poll for The Guardian gives some pointers as to how important the UK’s first national TV election debates between party leaders are likely to be:

  • Very high viewing figures: 29% say they will watch all three and a further 31% say they will watch one or two
  • Even higher viewing figures amongst older people (and older people are more likely to vote): 23% of 18-24 say they will watch all three, but this rises to 40% of the 65+
  • Women are less likely to watch the debates (important as Lib Dem swing voters are usually disproportionately female): 42% say they will watch none compared to 35% of men

The last point may be influenced by childcare responsibilities as those without children overall say they are more likely to watch the debates. But once the children are asleep, will people catch up on the impact of the debates by watching the news or viewing clips online?

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