In the third part of a special week-long series of features, politics.co.uk looks at what the election tells us about the public.
By Ian Dunt
The public is a strange beast. People make sense and say intelligible things. The public as a whole often doesn't.
The year 2010 should have marked the end of the two-party system. The expenses scandal, a hated Labour government and an unloved Conservative opposition should have signalled a breakthrough for Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrats.
Cleggmania seemed to reflect this assumption. As soon as the public saw him its approval reached fever-pitch. Journalists, activists and academics got terribly excited. But it didn't happen. The Lib Dems increased their share of the vote marginally, but actually lost seats.
What went wrong? The best bet is that with the economic situation as it was, voters got into the voting booth and decided it wasn't the time to try out a newbie. Clegg himself came out with the most believable interpretation of the result.Read More »from Election aftermath: The public