Last night's by-election saw a turnout of 28% and the Labour candidate elected with a mere 12,000 votes, despite keeping Ed Miliband locked under the stairs for the campign. The Tories were never going to win the seat and the fact that their vote held up shows that the Euro problem took the edge off any anti-government vote based on the economy.
The fact that UKIP still couldn't beat the Lib Dems, and claim that their vote wasn't as good as hoped for because the anti-EU vote went to the Tories, shows that they are making virtually no real progress and are not a credible fourth party. If you're only known for being anti-EU and can't get more than a fraction above 5% in a by-election when the country is as anti-EU as I have ever known it you may as well pack up and go home.
So that leaves the Tories and Labour fighting over the corpse of the Liberal Democrats. If I were a betting man I would still put money on the Tories sneaking in at the next general election, especially if Dave's stand against the EU is firmed up and doesn't turn out to be sleight of hand.
I still maintain that Dave should dump the Lib Dems and go for a general election in the New Year. The last thing he wants to do is risk Labour binning Miliband and finding a credible leader from somewhere.