U.K. Election Fever: Which Way Will Britain Vote?

Britain goes to the polls in one of the closest run elections in years.

ByABC News
May 6, 2010, 10:37 AM

LONDON, May 6, 2010— -- Millions in Britain are taking to the polls today in what is being hailed as one of the most important elections in decades.

The race has been tight throughout the campaign and the most recent polls show the Conservative party edging slightly ahead of Labour, leaving the Liberal Democrats in third place.

Not since 1992 has an election outcome in Britain been so uncertain, and, unusually, it seems the third party could play a crucial role. "So what will we wake up to tomorrow?" asks The Independent newspaper as it lists as many as eight possible post election scenarios.

"For the first time it is a real three horse race and we don't know the outcome," Simon Hoggart, political commentator, told ABC News.

If the polls are to be believed the most likely outcome will be a Conservative minority government, known here as a hung parliament. This could force David Cameron, the Conservative party leader to form a coalition with the smaller parties or even the Liberal Democrats depending on the amount of seats he needs to gain a majority in parliament.

Another possible scenario is that Labour comes a strong enough second to form a coalition with the Lib Dems. In this case Gordon Brown, the incumbent, will remain prime minister and oversee the formation of a new government.

In both these scenarios Nick Clegg, the 43-year-old Liberal Democrat leader is being heralded as kingmaker. His performance in this campaign has surprised many and his popularity sky-rocketed after outshining the other two leaders in the U.K.'s first ever television debate.

The effect of these television debates "seems to have been enormous," according to Hoggart. The debates are largely credited with reinvigorating the British public's interest in politics, and after last summer's political expenses scandal people are keen to have their voice heard.

They also introduced Clegg to the populace on a grand scale. He used them to galvanize support for his party by offering a new political prospect to a public that felt disillusioned with "old party" politicians. He is also campaigning for political reform, calling for a more European style electoral system.