03/05/2012 17:44 BST | Updated 03/05/2012 18:36 BST

London Elections - Boris Tipped To Win, Tactical Voting Predicted

Polls have closed in the London Mayoral and Assembly election and while there is no formal exit poll, Boris Johnson is widely expected to have retained City Hall.

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But we're making no such predictions - it's been a strange day at the polls - many suspect there's been a low turnout, and The Huffington Post UK has heard widespread reports of tactical voting.

Voters backing a candidate they don't expect to win on first preference comes forth in several flavours, and with a strong health warning - it's only anecdotal.

However if it turns out to be widespread it could lead to strong showings for UKIP and the Green party, and perhaps exceptionally so for the independent candidate Siobhan Benita.

Although she's never claimed to be, Benita appears to have become something of a conduit for Labour supporters who've signed up to the "Not Ken Again" mantra. She can be expected to do well if lots of disillusioned Labour voters decide to send a message to the party - that they allowed the wrong candidate to stand and made a mess of the selection process.

Many think Ken was picked to stand too soon - the contest happened in autumn 2010 at the same time as Ed Miliband's leadership election. Not enough time was given, some say, for the party to regroup and work out what it wanted to stand for in this election. The result was that Ken's formidable internal party machine steamrollered over any other contenders.

One die-hard Labour supporter - who happily voted for Labour candidates in the assembly elections - told The Huffington Post UK they'd voted for Benita first but made no second preference.

They said they really hoped would Ken do badly. Similar anecdotes have been heard elsewhere and gleefully tweeted by Tories.

See also:

The Early Council Results That Will Form A National Projection

Low Turnout Feared In Local Elections

Scots Go To The Polls To Elect Councillors

On the Tory side, there seems to have been a few people who decided to vote UKIP or for the Greens first, with Boris their second preference.

This seemingly has nothing to do with Boris and everything to do with attempting to push Brian Paddick and the Lib Dems into fourth place. Or even fifth.

Again these are either Tory party workers or loyal supporters - but as The Huffington Post UK has heard this sort of tactical voting among Tories from several unconnected sources, it's not beyond the realms of conspiracy theory to suggest some kind of orchestrated campaign took place here. "It's all about making the Lib Dems look stupid," one Westminster based staffer told The Huffington Post UK earlier.

Will any of this affect the final result? That's impossible to say, and we're in for a long wait before we know the answer. Counting of votes in London won't begin until 8:45am on Friday, and it'll take most of the day to get a sense of what's going on. Most expect second preference votes to tip the election one way or the other.

In the meantime here's the liveblog of the day so far - check back to The Huffington Post UK all day tomorrow for rolling coverage as the results come in - we'll be at City Hall near Tower Bridge with the latest all day.

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