Has the three-day break in campaigning by the political parties after the Manchester bombing helped or hindered Theresa May in the election? Or indeed Jeremy Corbyn?
Before campaigning was suspended in the early hours of Tuesday morning, the PM was being attacked over a social care U-turn and the Tory lead over Labour in opinion polls was narrowing.
The following three days inevitably saw Mrs May take centre stage: she chaired four COBRA emergency meetings, made three dramatic Downing Street statements and dashed to Manchester on a high-profile visit.
Bickering between politicians gave way to a sombre national mood. Constant images of battle buses, cheering activists and stump speeches were replaced by the PM’s podium and troops in Downing Street and Parliament.
A look at the front page splash headlines of the first and final editions of Tuesday’s newspapers after the bomb attack – which happened shortly after 10.30pm on Monday night – dramatically reveals the instant change in mood.
The Daily Telegraph changed from “Care cost chaos after May U-turn on key pledge” to “Manchester explosion kills 19 concertgoers”; the Daily Mirror from “How can we ever trust Mrs U-turn?” to “19 dead in pop concert ‘suicide bomb'”.
The immediate impact of the suspension of campaigning – agreed by Mrs May and Mr Corbyn in a 4am phone call – was to stop the election campaign in its tracks.
A national crisis like a war or major terrorist attack usually has the effect of making leaders look statesmanlike.
And Mrs May’s allies would claim no modern PM has more experience of tackling terrorism than she has after six years as home secretary.
In the UK, the most obvious example of this type of poll bounce was Margaret Thatcher’s after the Falklands War in 1982, which transformed her fortunes from…