As the UK goes to the polls today, the 2015 General Election campaign finished as it began – a dead heat – with the main parties trading insults and warning of the damage that the other would do over the next five years.
Our Political Media Tracker shows Labour having better coverage over the final two weeks but a final poll of polls based on interviews has Labour and the Conservatives neck and neck on 33 per cent. The final 72-hour surge in Tory support planned by the party's chief election strategist, Lynton Crosby, appears not to have materialised meaning that a 1992-style revival for the incumbent party is highly unlikely.
In his final rally, Labour leader Ed Miliband said that the momentum at the finish line lay with his party following a negative campaign by the Conservatives which had nothing to offer working people, nothing for the future and had resorted to desperate tactics to scare people into voting Tory.
David Cameron, meanwhile, finished a frantic 36-hour tour of the country's key marginals with a final rally at Hetherington Livestock Mart in Carlisle, where he asked for more time to build a better Britain and said that the election would define the next generation.
In an extraordinarily low-key campaign, two things have stood out: the rise of the SNP in Scotland where the nationalists are threatening to take 50 seats, leading to a near wipeout for Labour north of the border, and the replacement of the Lib Dems by UKIP in third place in the popular vote.
Nigel Farage, UKIP's leader, spent the final day of the campaign on the doorstep in Thanet South where he has vowed to quit politics if he fails to take the seat from the Conservatives.
The final poll of polls predicts Labour and the Conservatives tied on 273 seats – well short of the 326 needed to secure an absolute majority. The Tories will be hoping that Miliband sticks by his promise not to do any deals with the SNP to get into No 10 while Labour is said to be planning to appeal to the Liberal Democrats to join it in building a new coalition to take Britain on a new economic path away from austerity.
However, despite the polls, it will be the votes of only several tens of thousands of people which will decide whether Cameron or Miliband forms the next government. There are about 30 key marginals in which the election will turn ranging from Warwick in the Midlands to Brentford in Essex. Coupled with the number of undecideds – about one in six voters have yet to make up their minds according to pollsters – there remains enough uncertainty on polling day for nobody to know whose manifesto the Queen will be reading to Parliament on May 27.
ps 3 ways you can apply this information right now to better understand news monitoring and analytics