Polls opened in Britain on Thursday, in an election Prime Minister Theresa May once expected to win easily but which has proved increasingly hard to predict following a campaign shadowed by terrorism.
May called the snap vote in April, when opinion poll ratings for her and her centre-right Conservative Party were sky high, presenting herself as the strong leader to take Britain into Brexit talks.
Militant attacks in London and Manchester have put her under pressure over her six years as interior minister, while campaign missteps have dented her reputation as a safe pair of hands.
Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, an anti-war campaigner deemed unelectable by a majority of his own lawmakers, has run an energetic campaign promising change and an end to austerity.
While May has been touring target seats around the country, delivering slogan-heavy speeches to small groups of hand-picked activists, Corbyn has drawn large crowds to open-air rallies.
Polling experts — many of whom failed to predict the referendum vote to leave the European Union last year — are now wary of calling the outcome. While most still expect a Conservative victory, predictions of the margin vary widely, and one shock forecast model even predicted May could lose her majority of 17 in the 650-seat House of Commons.
“I’d still put my money on a comfortable Tory win — but who knows?” said Tim Bale, politics professor at Queen Mary University of London.
Speaking to reporters on her plane during a final burst of campaigning on Wednesday, May insisted she had no regrets about calling the vote three years early.