Election Poll News
LONDON — Britain is less than three weeks away from voting in its closest general election for almost a quarter of a century, with no obvious winner emerging despite clear differences on austerity, immigration and tax.
Polls suggest Prime Minister David Cameron hasn't done enough to secure an outright majority for his Conservatives after five years of power-sharing with the smaller Liberal Democrats — even after returning the U.K. economy to steady, if unspectacular, growth.
Nor has Britain's main opposition Labour Party, steered to the left by a faltering Ed Miliband, established enough momentum to secure the 326 seats needed for victory in the House of Commons, Britain's lower house of parliament.
Miliband himself said he was fighting the "tightest general election for a generation" and The Economist magazine called it "wildly unpredictable."
Prime Minister David Cameron talks to supporters during a campaign rally in Abingdon, England, on April 4. Leon Neal / Pool via Getty Images
Britain appears divided between the Conservatives' plan to eliminate the national deficit and Labour's promise to balance austerity with measures to freeze energy bills and raise wages for the country's poorest.
Polls have so far put the rivals neck-and-neck. One carried out Thursday and published Friday found Labour and the Conservatives tied at 34 percent. The BBC's "poll of polls" on Friday had the same figure; its aggregated poll data has not placed the two parties more than two percentage points apart since mid-February.
In fact, the last time a race was this close was in 1992, when John Major's Conservatives scored an unexpected victory against Labour despite a tough recession.
On top of that, up to 50 percent of voters are open to changing their minds between now and May 7, according to polling company Ipsos MORI.
"Not only is the closest election since 1992, it is a lot more complicated, " said Tom Mludzinski, head of political polling at consultancy ComRes. "Predicting this election is going to be a lot more difficult. The Liberal Democrats have been in government and are no longer the natural third-party alternative to the two main parties."
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