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UK election: Polls open amid heightened security following London terror attack

08 June 2017

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May visits Atherley Bowling Club in Southampton, England, Wednesday June 7, 2017, on the final day of campaigning ahead of the general election on Thursday.

Opinion polls - hampered by a poor reputation for reliability - predict a May win.

The final day of campaigning comes under the shadow of security concerns, following three terrorist attacks since March all involving assailants who were known to the authorities.

The Guardian noted that detail of the ICM poll confirmed Corbyn's popularity among younger voters with a lead of 66%-23% versus the Tories among 18 to 24 year olds and 47%-33% among 25 to 33 year olds.

But for May the time seemed right.

This is a danger zone for the Prime Minister, because 12 is her majority right now - meaning she would have put her party and the country through a long, hard election for very little or no reward.

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However, in recent years, a breakdown in traditional party loyalties has made everything more unpredictable. A former advocate of remaining in the EU, she now promises to press forward with Brexit, taking Britain out of the bloc, reducing immigration and forging a new relationship with the U.K.'s European neighbours. May's electoral campaign as well as a very much better than expected electoral performance by Jeremy Corbyn.

"The choice is another five years of a Tory government, underfunding of services all across the United Kingdom, including here in Scotland, or a Labour government that invests for all, all across Britain", he told supporters in Glasgow.

Tory candidates in seats that could be threatened if affluent voters back Labour told POLITICO they are not feeling this swing to any significant degree on the doorstep. He could form a left-wing "progressive alliance" with the SNP and Liberal Democrats. Thus, GBP/USD may not get much further above $1.30 even if May wins a decent majority.

Labour is viewed as the best party on the NHS by 43 per cent of the public, including one in five who voted Tory at the last election, while only 24 per cent opt for the Conservatives.

What happened to the markets in previous general elections? Age is generally seen as a strong predictor of voting intent in Britain, with older people being more likely to vote compared with younger voters. In comparison, May's numbers have remained largely stagnant, with her Facebook likes among British users growing by only about 43,000 during that same period.

The Conservatives were also damaged by a manifesto plan for elderly care that would see many people pay more.

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May then made the disastrous move of backing down on the policy, seriously undermining her "strong and stable" mantra. But her campaign has often stuttered over the past few weeks.

In the most deadly attack, Salman Abedi killed 22 people at a Manchester concert venue on May 22 when he detonated a suicide bomb.

When it resumed, May was facing questions about her record as Britain's interior minister between 2010 and 2016 - years in which police budgets were cut and the number of officers fell by nearly 20,000.

Conservatives: The election has been overshadowed by an attack in which three assailants in a van mowed down pedestrians and went on a stabbing rampage in the popular London Bridge area on Saturday.

Rob Delaney, co-star of the London-based sitcom Catastrophe, said in a Labor-sponsored video that he may not be able to vote but called the NHS, Britain's under threat free healthcare system, "the greatest thing I've ever experienced in my life".

Warning of "five more years of Tory austerity", Labour's leader promised more spending on health and education, BBC reported. More recent surveys still point to victory for May - but not necessarily the landslide she seeks.

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But if she fails to surpass handsomely the 12-seat majority her predecessor David Cameron won in 2015, her electoral gamble will have failed and her authority will be undermined both inside her Conservative Party and at talks with the 27 other European Union leaders.