TV leaders' debate 2015: Here's why Nicola Sturgeon won for the SNP

Guy Bentley
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Why did Sturgeon smash the competition? (Source: Getty)

Last night's seven-way political slug-fest was a sight to see in British politics. The only parallel to ITV's leaders' debate spectacle are Presidential primaries where a host of candidates battle it out for the party's nomination.

But after all the pre-scripted answers and not so clever comebacks the SNP's leader Nicola Sturgeon emerged triumphant. Out of four polls conducted after the debate Sturgeon placed first in three. So how did she do it?

Sturgeon's position in the debate was a win from the start. Placed next to David Cameron, the SNP could hammer home the point of their opposition to austerity and challenge the Prime Minister on a level platform.

Already known as a formidable debater, Sturgeon struck the right balance between being punchy and aggressive and offering a voice of hope and optimism.

On a stage stuffed with insurgents, Nicola Sturgeon had the credibility of being able to say her party could be the third largest force in Westminster. She purposefully tried to ease the fears of voters south of the border and batted away attacks from Nigel Farage over Scotland's share of public spending more than ably.

However, one party leader will be particularly pleased Sturgeon put in such a good showing - David Cameron. The Tory leader and Ed Miliband came out roughly neck and neck in the opinion polls, but the rise of the SNP threatens to hammer Labour's ability to win a majority.

Nicola Sturgeon may have won the debate, but it may be Conservative strategist Lynton Crosby who has the broadest smile this morning. And don't forget, we still have another opposition parties' debate to go!

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