POLITICS

General Election Seven-Way Debate Had Little Impact On Voting Intentions, Poll Says

04/04/2015 21:15 BST | Updated 04/04/2015 21:59 BST

The much-anticipated, seven-way TV leaders' debate has had little impact on voting intentions in the General Election, with the two biggest parties still heading for a photo-finish on polling day, according to a new poll.

The Opinium survey for The Observer found that all seven party leaders received positive scores for how they performed in the two-hour showdown, with Ed Miliband enjoying a six-point boost to his personal rating.

But the poll found the parties' ratings were virtually unchanged from a survey by the same pollsters for the same paper last week, which put Labour and Conservatives neck and neck in the race for 10 Downing Street.

tv debate

The seven-way debate hasn't changed many people's minds

Conservatives were down one point on 33%, level-pegging with Labour which remained on 33%, while Ukip was up one point on 14%, Lib Dems down one on 7%, Greens unchanged on 7% and the Scottish National Party up one on 4%.

The results appeared to back up an earlier Survation poll for the Daily Mirror, which found all the leaders enjoying a post-debate boost, but little evidence that the TV clash had changed people's voting plans.

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The poll found that Nicola Sturgeon was judged to have performed best in the TV debate.

Miliband's personal rating rose from minus 21 to minus 15 - 29% of those questioned approving of his performance, 44% disapproving.

Cameron's rating was unchanged, with those approving of him outnumbering those who disapprove by a wafer-thin single point.

Nick Clegg remained the least popular of the major party leaders, but saw his overall rating rise from minus 40 to minus 30, with 21% approving and 51% disapproving.

The poll also found Lib Dem voters were split on what the party should do in the event of a hung parliament - with between 40% and 45% supporting going into a coalition with the largest party while a fifth want it leave government.