Richard North, 05/05/2005  

The big surprises are still to come and this blogger is going to be in the thick of it tonight, attending one of the counts.

Unfortunately, our constituency does not declare until 4.00 a.m., so it is going to be a long night and posting will not be possible until the morning.

Already, however, one prediction of the naysayers seems to have been confounded. Our experience is that turnout at the polling stations is marginally up from the last election and, given the massive increase in postal votes, this suggests that turnout is going to be significantly up.

Reports from colleagues and other sources indicate that this phenomenon is nation-wide, but it would be wrong to believe that this necessarily favours Zanu New Labour. Our impression is that the Labour vote is on the slide, and the votes are going variously to the Lib-Dims and Conservatives, with the greater proportion going to the party with the greatest chance of winning – hence the mixed messages from the polls.

Further, the run-up to the this election has been characterised by the highest pre-election proportion of “don’t knows” or “undecideds” in living memory, up to 25 percent on the eve of poll. This has, undoubtedly, slewed poll results.

Anyhow, as we have maintained consistently on this Blog, the more important poll is the EU referendum but, to some extent, its outcome will be determined (or at least influenced) by the results we get tonight and tomorrow morning.

And, when the counting end, the real battle starts.

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