number of polls published since the second leaders debate was broadcast. What has become clear is that the LibDem's support has reached its peek. Indeed it was clear before the latest debate but there was a chance it would give Clegg an added boost, but it didn't. The upward momentum has stalled.
Last week, when we first saw the LibDem surge, there was talk in some quarters of the LibDems breaking through to such a strong position that they could actually muster more MPs than one or both of the other parties after the election. Some even dreamt of them actually winning outright. In truth, there was never a realistic chance of this happening. But, if enough people started to believe it was possible a critical mass may have been reached and who knows, perhaps the other two parties support could have collapsed and allowed such a miracle LibDem victory.
The window of opportunity for this to happen was last week. It's too late now and it's clear now that they will finish third in terms of parliamentary seats. They could increase their popularity by a few more percent, but by no where near enough to challenge either of the other two parties' likely seat tally. But, unless their support drops off significantly, Clegg will still have a significant effect on the outcome - he'll cause a hung parliament.
I keep hearing people say "if the people choose a hung parliament". Let's be clear, no one votes for a hung parliament, there's no option for "hung parliament" on the ballot paper. Our electoral system is designed to produce decisive results and a hung parliament represents a failure of the system. We already see evidence of our politicians starting to manoeuvre to make deals behind closed doors so they stand a better chance getting hold of the levers of power, should there be no clear decision. It's an unedifying sight.
The truth is that most LibDem members want to see a Labour/Liberal coalition and are not at all keen on a deal with the Tories and today Paddy Ashdown ruled out a coalition with the Tories so Clegg is much more likely to end up propping up Labour in power than opting for the Tories, effectively derailing a decisive rejection of Labour and 13 years of venal, dishonest and incompetent government.
I'm all for voting LibDem if it would deny Labour a seat in your constituency. But if you want change at this election you need to vote Conservative should they have any chance of winning where you are. There will be some who will need to hold their nose to do this, but if change is your objective there now isn't another choice.
Check this poll tracker out. Click on seat forecast to look at the reality of the LibDems situation.