BROWNPRAYERLewisWhyld:Getty

As Brown tries to save his party from third place in the electoral vote, Cameron is certainly showing signs of confidence, saying he would prefer to run a minority government than form a coalition with the Liberals. Some new polls show a slight return to normality with the LIb-Dems subsiding a little. Politics Home's poll of polls gives the Tories 35 percent to the LIberals' 29 and Labour's 27. But how all this plays out in a complex, seat-by-seat, region-by-region national election is extremely hard to measure:

The Lib Dem surge, along with claims by the Tories and Lib Dems that the Labour vote is going into freefall, has opened up many more possibilities for both opposition parties. 

“There are huge numbers of Labour to Lib Dem switchers, which gives us an advantage in seats you wouldn’t expect and we hope to exploit [that],” said one Tory source.

They say the changes mean that up to four seats may be in play in the North East, traditionally a no-go area for the Tories. In addition to Sunderland Central, they are Tynemouth, a longstanding target needing a 6 per cent swing to the Tories, Stockton South, needing 7 per cent, and Middlesbrough South, a 9 per cent swing.

I would not be surprised to see a small Tory majority. Why? Because this is a change election and they are the most likely practical vehicle for such change:

Voters are ready for a change of direction, with 70% agreeing with the sentiment "time for a change", against just 25% who say continuity is most important and want to stick with Labour. Many are also likely to vote: 68% of those polled said they were certain to cast a ballot on Thursday, and a further 9% said it was likely, which if it happens could see turnout rise well above the 61% recorded in 2005.

(Photo: Prime Minister Gordon Brown makes a speech to a Sunday congregation at the Church of the New Testament in Streatham on May 2, 2010 in London, England. By Lewis Whyld - WPA Pool/Getty Images.)

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