The popular press would have you believe it, but then again they have an agenda. Look deeper and look at what needs to happen next week more thoughtfully and you get a different outcome. From the Economist:
Our latest poll, conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion, a Canadian pollster, suggests that there is still plenty to play for. It puts the Conservatives in first place among those certain to vote with 33%, followed by the Liberal Democrats on 30%, Labour on 23% and other parties on 14% (see chart, and for full details see here). After pondering the specific swing in marginal seats, the pollster reckons these results would leave the Tories the largest party, with 294 seats, but 32 short of a majority. Labour would have 174 seats, and the Lib Dems 150.
The poll confirms Mr Clegg’s commanding personal lead over his rivals.
And that’s all you need to know. Was Clegg ever likely to get the largest number of seats from his position in this first-past-the-post system? Absolutely not. But if Clegg really gets anywhere near 150 seats he’ll have done far more than he set out to do, and get proportional representation onto the top of the political agenda. I don’t doubt for a moment still that Cameron will press right ahead and form a minority Tory administration, but in rejecting PR (which he’ll do, and there’s no way the Liberal Democrat Party would ever allow Clegg to join in a coalition with him) he’ll ultimately destroy himself and govern with no popular mandate, at just the wrong time in history. The electorate remains incandescent with rage about the expenses scandal, still feels betrayed by a New Labour government which delivered far less than it promised, and hates politics and politicians with a passion. Calling Cameron the winner last night is meaningless, when the sentiment which Clegg tapped into three weeks ago is still very much in play, and still demands satisfaction.
Labour meanwhile are still playing games with the authoritarian state, and wondering why the voters have given up on them. Gosh I wonder why?