British voters go to the polls:
Party activists were trying this evening to persuade supporters to go to the polling stations before they close at 10pm, as the UK general election nears it close. The parties’ knocking up comes after a Guardian/ICM opinion poll predicted that Labour would win a historic third term tonight, possibly with a majority of more than 100. The poll, taken last night, found no evidence that Tony Blair might be denied a majority by a late swing. It gave Labour 38%, the Conservatives 32%, and the Liberal Democrats 22%. In a uniform national swing, those figures would translate into a Labour majority of 130, although it is expected the much closer contests in the marginal constituencies could shrink its majority to 90 or lower. Labour won the 2001 election with a 165 majority…Labour had 410 MPs in the last parliament, with the Tories and Liberal Democrats with 164 and 54 respectively. Though neither opposition party believes it can deny Mr Blair a majority, they hope to cut it down to double figures. Mr Howard’s future as Tory leader depends on increasing his party’s parliamentary contingent to at least 200 MPs, but evidence from polls that Labour has lengthened its lead over the last month makes that look an increasingly unlikely scenario. The Tories, however, insist that the result will be much closer than the national polls suggest, with their candidates neck-and-neck with Labour’s in many of the key marginal constituencies. The Liberal Democrats also believe that tonight’s results will bring them good news, with the unpopularity of Mr Blair and their opposition to the Iraq war delivering them big gains. The 22% share of the vote predicted by ICM would be their best performance since 1983.