Personally, I think, Mr Clegg allowed the publicity to go to his head. When he should have shown humility, no matter how fake, he came across as arrogant and condescending and I still say that his lack of respect and attempts to humiliate Gordon Brown, lost him vital votes.
Even now, the Liberal Democrats are getting none of the kudos for the decisive decisions the government is preparing to make to cut the massive deficit. Nick Clegg's own standing within the country has plummeted. What is frightening for his party is that the public has yet to feel the pain of the Coalition's planned actions and therefore a real backlash has yet to come.
Appearances are everything and the Conservatives appear not to have sacrificed too much to form the government, whilst the junior party looks to have surrendered a lot more in its eagerness to taste power. Many Lib Dems' supporters would never have contemplated voting Conservative and feel betrayed that their votes effectively put the Tories in government.
Mr Clegg's decision to ditch principles exposed his thirst for power at any price, no matter what he might say about "the national interest". The current polls are not good news for the Deputy Prime Minister and the danger is that members of the general public, who voted for the LibDems, may not be ready to forgive and vote Labour at the next general election, but might consider the opportunity to directly elect a Cameron government instead of doing so by proxy. That could wipe out the Liberal Democrats.
Nick Clegg has the difficult task of selling the Coalition, without erasing the independence of the Liberal Democrats as a viable party and, of course, himself, as its leader. Apparently he plans to use the Prime Minister's absence to raise his own profile and set out the Liberal Democrats own agenda for the future. Of course, he has to do this without even a hint of disagreement with his power buddy, Mr. Cameron.
Mr Clegg probably easily gained and (already) lost those extra pounds, a reflection of his standing with some of his party and most of the public.