Britain’s main party leaders launched a final day of campaigning with one poll suggesting that almost four in 10 voters in the cliffhanger general election had yet to decide who to back.
And with a succession of opinion polls giving the opposition Conservatives only a narrow lead going into Thursday’s voting, the scene was set for a dramatic finish to what has been the closest election battle for a generation.
Leaders crisscross the country
David Cameron, whose Conservative party are ahead in opinion polls, embarked on a 24-hour tour in a bid to fulfil a commitment to visit every part of Britain.
“We are going at it all night, all day, all next day, all the way through to polling day,” he said at a rally in Renfrewshire, Scotland.
“That is how we are going to win the election.”
The Conservatives are fighting to oust the ruling Labour Party after 13 years in power.
But the strong poll lead they enjoyed several months ago has now been whittled down to a few points.
Most surveys indicate they would not win enough seats in the House of Commons to be able to form a government on their own, leading to a hung parliament.
The latest ComRes poll for ITV News and The Independent newspaper showed no change on the previous day, with the Tories on 37 per cent, Labour on 29 and the Liberal Democrats 26.
But it also indicated that nearly four in 10 voters had not yet made up their mind who to back, suggesting all was still to play for.
The tactics of voting
Gordon Brown, fighting to secure a historic fourth term in office for Labour, was set to travel through northern England and Scotland on the last full day of campaigning.
At a rally late in Manchester, northwest England, Brown appealed to voters to “come home” to the party.
“When the last 48 hours of this campaign has passed, in that one minute in the polling booth vote for the kind of country you believe in, and come home to Labour,” he said.
Cabinet ministers Ed Balls and Peter Hain signalled Labour supporters should cast their ballots for Nick Clegg’s centrist Liberal Democrats in seats where it was a tight race between the Lib Dems and the Tories.
Tactical voting in the swing constituencies, which essentially decide the results of British elections, could keep the Conservatives out of power, they suggested.
Clegg dismissed talk of tactical voting as “another sign of Labour’s desperation”.
His party has enjoyed a surge of support in the election campaign on the back of his performance in TV debates, and he is anxious to avoid tactical voting, fearing it could dent his party’s share of the popular vote.