Boris Johnson favoured to win BBC debate, but his previous performance has knocked expectations

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
December 06, 2019, 3:12 PM GMT+0

The PM now only holds a 5pt lead among public, down from 14pts prior to last month’s ITV debate

With the BBC hosting the final Prime Ministerial debate of the election campaign tonight, YouGov will once again be providing a snap poll of who viewers think performed best.

Prior to the first Prime Ministerial debate Johnson led Corbyn in the expectations stakes by 37% to 23%, but in the end viewers were tied 51%-49% on who triumphed.

This seems to have knocked the public’s confidence in Johnson’s debating skills. While he is still seen as more likely to win than Corbyn, that lead has narrowed from 14pts to 5pts with 33% thinking the PM will get the upper hand compared to 28% for the Labour leader.

The largest number of Britons aren’t sure, at 40% - a reminder that not everyone is as invested in this general election debate as the Westminster bubble.

The expectations are partisan, with most of those intending to vote Conservative (69%) or Labour (61%) expecting their man to emerge the victor. Among prospective Lib Dem voters – who have less of a stake in this fight – expectations break in favour of Corbyn by 39% to 22%.

This Lib Dem figure is much wider than it was ahead of the first debate, when it was closely tied at 29% for Johnson and 31% for Corbyn.

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