Britain’s second prime ministerial debate appears to have confirmed the country’s May 6 election will be one of the closest ever.
The rise of Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats has eaten into David Cameron’s Conservatives’ once comfortable poll lead.
Clegg has been widely praised for his performances in the prime ministerial debates, leading to a surge in support.
Some polls place him ahead of Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Labour and he is now closing in on Cameron.
If voters surveys accurately reflect how ballots are cast, no party will hold an absolute majority in the House of Commons.
Having spent five years trying to reshape his party’s image, a hung parliament would be a major blow to Cameron’s leadership.
It would be the first time it has happened in Britain since 1974. Gordon Brown has said he would try to remain as prime minister in a minority government.
The unexpected change of script would cast Nick Clegg in the role of kingmaker. He has ruled out a formal coalition with both parties, but will instead seek policy concessions.
The 43-year-old Liberal Democrat leader, who has a Dutch mother and a half Russian father, is the most openly Europhile of the three.
Clegg says Britain’s interests are best served by closer ties with the European Union. Before entering Westminster, he sat as an MEP between 1999 and 2004.