POLITICS

Who Will Be The Next Prime Minister After The General Election 2015?

06/05/2015 23:00 BST | Updated 07/05/2015 13:59 BST

No-one can predict the outcome of the General Election 2015 with complete certainty, but with less than 24 hours until the result, we can predict with confidence that the next Prime Minister of the UK will be one of two men: Ed Miliband or David Cameron.

ed miliband combination david cameron

A YouGov poll has David Cameron and Ed Miliband's two parties at a stalemate

What the polls say

Over the election period there have been many, many polls. Three on Wednesday put Labour and the Tories neck-and-neck on the eve of the election - a result a polling company concluded is "too close to call".

A Guardian/ICM poll had the parties tied at 35% while a YouGov poll also put both parties on 34%. TNS has the Conservatives marginally ahead on 33% to Labour's 32%, each down one point, and within the "margin of error" according to the pollster.

The 'poll of polls' on the election website May 2015, from the New Statesman, charts the ratings from the major polls such as Lord Ashcroft, ICM and ComRes. It shows just how close the Conservatives and Labour have been throughout the campaign.

general election leaders

While the Tories were doing better than their rivals in polls at the end of 2014, the 'poll of polls' shows Labour on a slight upward trajectory - momentum that, if it continues at the ballot box, could possibly see Labour take a narrow lead.

But what the polls could well point to, according to Michelle Harrison, head of political and social at TNS, is the possibility that there is no winner, and no party secures overall majority. The question then would be "whether the party with the most seats or the biggest share of the vote can claim the greatest legitimacy in forming the next government," she said. It could be the case that, for example, the Tories win more seats than Labour, but David Cameron is not the next Prime Minister if he's unable to partner with other parties to form a viable government.

What the bookies say

The bookies' odds will be changing up until the results are called and a new government is formed, but at 7pm the night before the election, Paddy Power's best odds was that there would be a Labour minority government. This means that Labour would win the most seats, but not enough to have a majority in Parliament, but would attempt to govern this way anyway - with Ed Miliband as the PM.

The odds on this, at 7pm on Wednesday, were 2/1 - so you'd still double your money if you put a bet on that outcome. The second most likely "winners" according to the bookmaker would be a Conservative and Lib Dem coalition returning back to power with David Cameron, with odds of 9/4.

paddy power

Paddy Power's Wednesday evening odds of what the next cabinet will be

Odds from rival bookie Betfair, also on Wednesday evening, confirmed the same two combinations as the most likely outcomes.

What logic says

Logic tells us that, whatever happens, this is the closest election in decades. Whichever party "wins", if that term even applies to the outcome, it will most likely be a hung parliament. So the only prediction we can perhaps make, with some confidence, is that Miliband or Cameron will be PM. The negotiations after the election results could be long and more complex than the discussions for the coalition of 2010 - which were already the first of their kind in recent history.

election results

Infographic supplied by Statista

GENERAL ELECTION 2015

General Election 2015 Seat Declaration Times In Time Order

General Election 2015 Declaration Times In Alphabetical Order

When Is The Election And How Do I Vote?

10 Tools To Help You Decide Who To Vote For

100 Facts About The General Election

More General Election News

Infographic supplied by Statista

General Elections 2015: Funny and Awkward Pictures