London, Apr.18 (ANI): Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, who won the first of three election-related debates aired on British television for the first time earlier this week, is being regarded as the most popular party leader since former Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
According to a new Sunday Times, Clegg has surged to a higher approval rating than Tony Blair at the peak of new Labour's popularity.
Clegg has an almost unprecedented approval rating of 72 percent, ahead of Cameron on 19 percent and Brown on minus 18 percent.
Churchill had an 83 percent approval rating in 1945, just a few months before he lost the general election.
Last night, as the YouGov survey showed that the three parties are almost neck and neck, Labour and the Tories desperately tried to respond to the Clegg phenomenon.
The general election has become a genuine three-way contest with the Lib Dems, on 29 percent, enjoying their strongest support in almost 30 years.
Clegg's party is one point behind Labour on 30 percent, with the Tories on 33 percent having a slender lead of three points.
The poll suggests David Cameron's Tories are on course to secure 239 seats, only 46 more than they have now.
Labour, despite being second in terms of the popular vote, would get the most seats, with about 287 MPs, giving Gordon Brown a fighting chance of clinging on as prime minister.
The number of Lib Dem MPs would increase from 63 to 93, putting them in a strong position to dictate terms in a hung parliament.
Such a three-horse race is unprecedented in post-war British history.
The last time all the parties were in such close contention in a general election campaign was in the 1920s. (ANI)