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Poll shows Nick Clegg is the party leader most business people would want on their staff

The Leaders' debates have propelled Nick Clegg into an outright business lead of 30 points as the person that employers most want to work for them, according to contrasting poll results from more than 400 organisations before and after the first two TV debates.

Keep Britain Working set employers the same question in two separate polls, one before the first TV Leaders' debate and one after the second debate.  

Over 400 businesses had to choose between David Cameron, Gordon Brown and Clegg when asked: ‘If you had to employ one of the following to work for you, whom would you pick?'

Clegg's business rating rose from 28% to 59% following the TV debate, seizing the outright lead from Cameron.  Before the Leaders' debates, Clegg was 25 points behind, and 30 points ahead after the debates - an overall swing of 55 points.

Cameron suffered a 24-point drop after the debates from 53% to 29% of the poll, losing his business lead and dropping 30 points behind Clegg.

Brown's standing dropped less than Cameron's but still fell by six points, leaving Brown even further behind in third place with just 13% of the business vote.

Gender analysis revealed the impact of the debates was greatest among women.  Clegg gained a post-debate swing of 37 points from businesswomen, compared with a swing from businessmen of 26 points. 

The gender effect was most damaging to Cameron, who lost 34 points among businesswomen following the debate, compared with a drop of only 17 points among businessmen. 

In contrast, Brown lost most among businessmen, dropping by nine points among men and only three points among women.

James Reed, chairman of recruitment group Reed and founder of independent campaign Keep Britain Working, said: "Whoever is the next prime minister will clearly need a good head for business, given the challenges we face and with 8.5 million people currently economically inactive.

"At Keep Britain Working we look forward to presenting the next government with the one thousand ideas we have collected from people throughout the country on how best to retain jobs and create new ones."