David Cameron will be encouraged by news that a joint poll by the BBC, ITV and Sky News has forecast a stronger Tory result than predicted over the past week. The survey expects a hung parliament once all constituencies have declared.
The poll, which was conducted by Ipsos MORI expects the Conservatives to win 316 seats, with Labour on 239. The SNP are forecast to reach 58, which is far more than their 2010 tally of just 6 seats.
Here is the poll in full:
Conservatives - 316
Labour - 239
SNP - 58
Liberal Democrats - 10
UKIP - 2
Plaid Cymru - 2
Greens - 2
Others - 19
In 2010 the exit poll correctly predicted the outcome of the election. It forecast the Conservatives to win the election and be 19 seats short of a majority, which was spot on. The exit poll was also completely accurate in 2005, when it predicted the correct result of a Labour majority of 66 seats.
However, in 1992 the poll was famously wrong. It predicted a hung parliament with the Conservatives 25 seats short of a majority. In actual fact, John Major’s party won a majority of 21. This 62 seat margin of error still casts doubt over the reliability of the exit poll.
If this poll is correct, it will be the fifth election in a row that the Conservative Party has failed to win outright, and the second successive ballot where Labour has not reached a majority. We are not expected to learn the full extent of the results until the constituency of St Ives declares at 1pm tomorrow.
However, for the time being David Cameron will be satisfied - and probably hoping that the pollsters reach a hat trick of correct guesses.