A Rap Battle, The Sex Vote, And Election Bets: Counting Down To 5/6

Dan Bull has created an eve of election British debate rap battle (above). The second half is better than the first. Mark Tran reflects on the campaign:

Sometimes you can get to the end of an election campaign and feel that nothing very much has changed. That hasn't happened this time. The leaders' debates really did put a rocket under the Lib Dem campaign and in the polls Nick Clegg's party has enjoyed a lasting boost. On the stump David Cameron turned out to be even better at retail politics than people predicted. And (at least until this week) Gordon Brown turned out to be even worse. But the day-to-day campaigning did not seem to make much difference to the figures. We've reached the eve of polling day with the Tories still ahead, seat projections varying wildly (depending on what swing model you use...), a hung parliament on the cards – and polls showing that a huge chunk of the electorate still hasn't made up its mind...Election nights are always interesting. But tomorrow will be exceptional.

George McCoy gives voting instructions to those interested in more relaxed sex laws. In other sex news, the Sun's page 3 girls endorse the Tories (link NSFW):

Page 3 Girls in all their glory represent the very image of freedom in this country. But if Labour or the Lib Dems win the election, this could be the last time they are allowed to pose together. MPs Harriet Harman and Lynne Featherstone will move swiftly to change the law and ban Page 3 forever. Our national treasures - who even enjoy the Royal seal of approval from our future King Prince Charles - will be no more.


Nate Silver's final projection:

Polling during the past 48 hours has tended to show very slight gains for the Conservatives and Labour at the expense of the Liberal Democrats. Our projection model now forecasts that Conservatives will have 312 seats in the House of Commons (up from 308 in our previous forecast), Labour 204 (up from 198) and Liberal Democrats, 103 (down from 113).

Mark Blyth and Jonathan Hopkin have a Foreign Affairs piece on the election:

[T]hree issues press the next government's agenda -- force projection and great-power status, Britain's "special relationship" with the United States, and its relationship with the European Union.

Britain ceased to be a credible world power during the Suez Canal crisis of 1956, yet it still seeks to punch above its weight. With a weak economy for the foreseeable future, however, the new fiscal reality may curtail such ambitions, no matter who wins the election. The IMF has estimated that to bring the U.K. debt level back to around 60 percent of GDP, Britain will need to cut the equivalent of 12 percent of GDP from its budget over ten years. Big-ticket force-projection items, such as the Joint Strike Fighter and the modernization of Trident, the United Kingdom's missile-based nuclear weapons program, will necessarily come under intense scrutiny. International commitments, such as Britain's continuing presence in Afghanistan -- which is already deeply unpopular with the British public -- may also be called into question.

Anatole Kaletsky is hoping for a Tory-Lib Dem deal:

Suppose that the Tories emerge as the leading party, but require Lib Dem support. This would produce a far stronger government, provided the two parties could agree on terms. These terms would probably not entail a formal coalition, since their policy differences are profound and many, but on a temporary pact for peaceful coexistence, in which the Liberal Democrats would agree not to vote against the government on motions of confidence and budgetary issues, in exchange for a Tory promise of a referendum on electoral reform.

Such an agreement might last for two years or so. It would not commit the Lib Dems to positively supporting Tory economic policies, but it would require them to acknowledge the overriding national interest of economic stability and to abstain from parliamentary obstruction. The Tories would not need to support PR or any other electoral reform but merely to put these issues to a referendum in which the governing party would be free to campaign for a “no” vote.

Simon Hix and Nick Vivyan's final prediction:

Basically, this model predicts that the Conservatives will secure between 271 and 315 seats, that Labour will secure between 197 and 241 seats and that the Liberal Democrats will secure between 93 and 121 seats.

Bagehot's view of the campaign:

In campaigning terms, it had been dominated by the television debates. Bigotgate was the only other moment that got much of a look-in. The debates overshadowed much of the rest of the national campaigns. Meanwhile, apart from the early embarrassment over Labour's choice of blogger to introduce Gordon Brown at the launch of the manifesto, and a couple of candidates de-selected for online indiscretions, new media have been much less important than their excitable boosters predicted. I am a fan of the debates, but they have made the campaign feel like long bouts of pointlessness punctuated by brief periods of excitement.

It hasn't been pointless for the bookies. The British are betting like mad:

British voters have wagered more money on the uncertain outcome of tomorrow's vote than on any other election, with recent surges of betting on David Cameron and the Liberal Democrats seeing bookmakers revise forecasts of total election betting from £20m to up to £40m. During the 2005 general election campaign only £10m was gambled.


Daniel Finkelstein recalls the first time he voted Tory:

You may remember those posters: “I’ve never voted Tory before, but.” The Conservatives put those up because they realised that, among undecided voters, an extraordinary number said that while they were thoroughly disillusioned with Labour, they had never voted Conservative before. Now, they said, they were on the brink of backing David Cameron. And then, again and again, they added this: “My grandad would roll in his grave.”

Many pollsters assume and adjust their polls accordingly that a disproportionate number of these undecided voters will return to their past voting behaviour rather than following the trend. This has helped to make polls more accurate in the past. The result largely depends on whether that assumption holds good this time.

So, annoyingly, this election will be determined by people fighting a tribal urge that I’ve never felt and can’t completely relate to.

Thursday's front pages here. Here are The Sun's and the Mirror's covers:

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