First editions: Focus on exit poll as result too close to call

The failure of a clear frontrunner to emerge in the run up to yesterday’s general election led many nationals to instead focus their first editions on predictions of a hung parliament made by last night’s exit poll.

The Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Daily Mirror and The Sun all splashed on the poll, commissioned jointly by the BBC, ITV and Sky, which accurately predicted Conservatives would take most seats but fail to achieve an overall majority.

The Guardian’s headline said ‘Brown digs in as Tories claim they have won right to govern’as it focused on how the ‘wildly unpredictable’election kept everyone guessing despite exit polls declaring the Tories were just 19 short of being able to form a government.

Similarly, the first edition of The Times claimed that David Cameron had emerged in pole position despite the poll pointing toward the first hung Parliament since 1974.

The paper’s second edition focused on the ‘election chaos’as hundreds of voters in cities across the UK were locked out of polling stations and left unable to vote.

The first edition of The Telegraph’s black topped election special declared: ‘Cameron on course for victory, says exit poll’and said that the Tory leader was on the ‘cusp of winning the closest general election in a generation”.

The Mirror’s front page depicted a giant swingometer just edging towards the Labour Party as its headline declared ‘On a swing and a prayer’as exit polls showed Britain heading for a hung parliament.

After yesterday’s front page proclaimed “it is time to trust David Cameron”, the first edition of The Sun today took a more measured approach, soberly outlining how Cameron was in the driving seat ‘in the biggest cliff-hanger for decades”.

Conjuring up memories of front pages of old, the first edition of The Independent depicted 16 images of Election Day without mention of either the exit poll, the closeness of the race or the difficulties faced by some voters under its banner headline: ‘Destination: Downing Street”.

The Financial Times lead with a piece on European financial markets but ran its front page election coverage in a sidebar focusing on Cameron being ‘poised on the threshold of 10 Downing Street”.

The Express’s headline ‘Now we have to get real’highlighted how Britain needed to face up to the mammoth task of reconstructing the economy, while the Daily Mail focused on the large turnout as being an indicator that Britain was determined to end Labour’s 13 years in power.

Finally, The Daily Star opted for the ‘giant election hangover’cover depicting a cartoon of a tired looking Britannia hauling a ballot box on her back, its headline shouting: ‘Thank Gord it’s all over!”

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