One thing you can always be sure of after a By-Election is that everyone involved will claim to have won it in some way or other, regardless of how the actual votes have stacked up.
And it won't foretell the result of a General Election either, though lots of people will pretend that it does,
Here's my take on the result, as fair as I can make it.
1. Lib Dems - they'll be very, very relieved that they won after the week from hell. It's a great result for them. Eastleigh is a true Lib Dem stronghold and losing here would have been an absolute catastophe for them. As far as I know, they fought a typical LibDem local campaign. The activists will be really boosted by this and Clegg is probably safe now until the next election. This is, however, tempered by the fact that their vote share was significantly down. In fact, they dropped 15 points in the share of vote, which actually mirrors the drop they show in national opinion polls. They won here because they were so far ahead in the first place and UKIP split the Tory vote. This was not a big vote for the Lib Dems.
So, 9/10 on the night, but only 7/10 overall.
2. UKIP - The Daily Mailers just refuse to die. Clearly a terrific result, but not the breakthrough into Parliament that they need. They won't be able to repeat this in a general election, but they will be rightly delighted by this week. Cameron's offer of an in/out referendum seems, as I predicted, to have done nothing whatsoever to stop his UKIP problem. 9/10 - would be 10 but they didn't actually win.
3. Tories - an absolute disaster on every front. Being beaten by the Lib Dems would have been bad enough, but to lose to UKIP as well. Cameron is a dead man walking now. He may hang on, he may not, but he's the second coming of John Major. 3/10 at best.
4. Labour - a really interesting night for them. On the face of it disappointing, although they did slightly increase their share of the vote. Noone expected them to do well, and they didn't. But they do seem to have enjoyed themselves in the campaign and perhaps they've planted a seed for the local party to grow a little. Also, and this is the kicker, Labour need a fairly strong Lib Dem vote to hold off the Tories. If the Lib Dems collapse and half their vote moves to Labour, the Tories win the general election. 5/10 on the night, but not a bad week overall. A few papers have picked up on the result, but Ed's M and B won't be overly upset this weekend.