Richard North, 05/05/2005  

Although The Times online offers the headline: "Polls show landslide for Blair", reliable information indicates that the true picture may be very different to the extent that we may see some big surprises once the general election results come rolling in.

The Times is not the only one to give the game to Blair, suggesting a Labour majority of 100 to 130, but early returns from Conservative marginals indicate that the Tory vote is not only holding up but increasing, shares of 60 percent plus being widely reported.

As interesting, in some constituencies, the Labour vote shows signs of collapsing, in some cases slashed by half, down to below 20 percent. Lib-Dems are picking up some of the votes but the Tories are the major beneficiaries.

Even the smaller parties, such as UKIP, are doing well and in some cases, where strong support might be least expected, UKIP may retain deposits, having doubled its 2001 vote.

Thus, while polls are predicting a Blair victory, knowledgeable commentators are pointing to 1970 when the pundits confidently predicted a Wilson victory, only to find Heath standing at the door of No. 10 the next day.

The Times, however, does concede that tomorrow's result promises to be the most unpredictable since 1992, and that will certainly be the case, with many local results that defy national trends. Lib-dems could do particularly well in constituencies where they provide the strongest challenge but, overall, the Tories are set to make major gains.

There is an outside chance that, by Friday, we could be looking at a Conservative government – albeit with a wafer-thin majority. More realistically, we could be looking at the "dream scenario" where Labour's majority is cut to around 30, with the majority of votes cast in England going to the Conservatives.

Either way, bearing in mind that the Conservatives are the only major party to reject the EU constitution, and are prepared to fight for a "no" vote in the referendum, things are looking brighter than they have for a long time.

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