A hung Parliament looks the most likely outcome for the 2010 general election, according to the final opinion polls.
David Cameron’s Conservatives were placed in front by a comfortable margin in six surveys carried out for national newspapers.
However, polls were also united in suggesting that Mr Cameron will fail to achieve the 326 MPs he requires to become Prime Minister at the head of a majority Conservative administration.
In Thursday’s polls, the Tories scored between 35% and 37%, pointing towards 268-294 MPs in the new House of Commons, which convenes on 18 May.
Labour won the backing of between 27% and 29% in the surveys, which translates to 248-274 MPs on a uniform swing across the country. And Liberal Democrat ratings varied between 26% and 28%, which could be enough to give Nick Clegg 77-82 MPs and give him the balance of power in a hung Parliament.
The Opinium poll of 1,383 people for the Daily Express on 4 and 5 May placed the Tories on 35% (up two points on a similar poll published in the paper on Monday), with Labour down one point on 27% and Liberal Democrats down one on 26%. On a uniform swing it would give Conservatives 283 MPs, Labour 258 and Lib Dems 80.
A Populus survey for The Times put Tories on 37% (up one point on a similar poll last week), Labour on 28% (up one) and Liberal Democrats on 27% (down one). Some 2,505 adults were questioned on 4 and 5 May.
The Populus results would deliver 294 Conservative MPs on an even swing across the country, with 249 Labour and 79 Lib Dems.
Only one of the latest polls predicted Labour could be the largest party in a hung Parliament.
The Harris poll of 3,406 voters on 4 and 5 May for the Daily Mail revealed a late surge to Gordon Brown’s party, putting it up three points since Wednesday on 29%, with Conservatives down one on 35% and the Lib Dems down one on 27%.
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