The thing that immediately jumps out about this projection is how balanced it is. We had no target to aim for, no initial goal for the seat distribution. The four of us took each seat on at a time just to see where it ended up.
If this is indeed the final result, or at least very close, the next few weeks are going to be very exciting! The Conservatives would be agonisingly close to a majority, even with unionist support, but equally a LAB/LIB coalition would also be short. This would put a lot of pressure on the smaller parties to declare their stance. I can't see the Welsh or Scottish nationalists getting into bed with Cameron but they might prop him up on votes of confidence. However, a LAB/LIB/NAT/GRN coalition would just scrape to the magical 326. Technically the Greens wouldn't be needed if we're spot on but Caroline Lucas' vote could be very important if she wins in Brighton Pavilion (as we think she will!).
So how far off do we think we might be?! I'll do a quick region summary to show how Cameron could just make it:
East: Luton South is a lottery so the Conservatives have a good chance of picking that up. Thurrock is the only other possibility but Anne Main is under threat in St Albans so that could cancel that out. Watford is another potential pick up on our projection but the Lib Dems will be disappointed if they didn't win that.
West Midlands: There's more potential in the Midlands. We've put down 3 Lib Dem gains from the Conservatives; Ludlow, Worcester West and Solihull. The latter is a notional change in party though so that will be difficult to 'hold'. The other two are better prospects but I don't think they'll hang on to both. Possibility for a few more gains from Labour though, but for every close hold there's a close gain so I don't think we've underestimated them by more than a few seats here. They have a good chance against Richard Taylor in Wyre Forest though.
East Midlands: Northampton North is possibly the only controversial one in this region as we've predicted the Lib Dems to come from third. Aside from that it's similar to the West Midlands; quite a few close LAB/CON calls that could go either way. The Tories can't take EVERY seat with 9%...can they?!
North East: This is such a Labour stronghold the Conservatives should be happy we've given them a couple of gains! There isn't really much else going for them as the Liberal Democrats have established themselves well as the opposition here.
York & Humber: Colne Valley sticks out in this region. Another Lib Dem gain from third? The Tories should win one of these, surely?! There is quite a lot of potential to out do our projection here as there are so many marginals with a 6-10% swing required. They won't take them all but the could add a few more onto our guesstimates. Watch out for Ed Ball's seat, Morley & Outwood, as that could produce a big shock. The Conservatives are hoping anyway!
North West: The Tories are second in Warrington South so our prediction of a Lib Dem gain from third may be generous towards Clegg's party. Aside from that I can't see them outdoing our projection by more than a couple in this region.
Scotland: A bad region for the Conservatives and we're only predicting a solitary gain here. They're only really competitive in a handful of seats so a concentration of resources might help them pick up another one or two. Unlikely though I feel.
Wales: This should go better for Cameron. We've got them on four gains but the Vale of Clwyd is the only other realistic target. Stephen Crabb in Preseli Pembrokshire is defending a small majority with dodgy expenses though so they should be happy with 7 seats in the end.
South East: We've pretty much given the Conservatives all we can here! If anything Labour might hold a couple more than we said. I guess they need to take Romsey & Southampton North and hold Eastbourne but I'm happy with our predictions on those.
South West: This is where the majority can be won or lost. We reviewed this region last night as we'd completed it before the first debate. Initially we had the Lib Dems losing half a dozen but now we're predicting two gains on the back of the Clegg bounce. The Conservatives should logically win at least one in Cornwall. The county would be blue if it was sat in the South East but I just don't know which one they'll take. Cornwall North, Cornwall South East, St Austell & Newquay and Truro & Falmouth could all fall to the Tories…or none of them will. We've said none so they could grab a couple on top of our projection. But realistically polls suggest a strong CON>LD swing in this region so the rest of our close predictions might even themselves out. We've said they'll lose the new Devon Central and predicted the loss of Oliver Letwin in Dorset West and David Heathcoat-Armory in Wells. Both are controversial predictions so the Tories could hold one or both. As for gains from the Lib Dems I think the Clegg bounce has saved them many seats in the region, particularly in Somerset where they are defending two super marginals against the blues. Adrian Sanders in Torbay is their best chance of removing an incumbent I'd say. So the Conservatives could take 5+ in the South West over our prediction.
So on reflection the Conservatives really aren't far off a majority. But in our opinion a VERY slim one is all they can hope for. They'll need help from somewhere and I think by this time tomorrow the media narrative will have turned to this.
Finally, our 'Reputation' seats. As we currently don't have a reputation to lose this is all a bit of fun! But for reference here are the seats we'll each be proud of if we're right.
Tom: I'm selecting Wells. The Lib Dems only need a 2.9% swing but the Tories are still favourites and, more importantly, I predicted this before the Clegg bounce. Heathcoat-Amory's expenses will prove his downfall…I hope!
Mike: Andrew Pelling was elected as a Conservative MP in Croyden Central but he will be standing at this election as an Independent. Despite his controversy surrounding him Pelling was a popular MP. Mike thinks that his presence will be enough to hand this to Labour.
Chris: His pet seat is defiantly Na h-Eileanan an lar. I doubt he can pronounce it but he's predicted one of our handful of Labour gains. The SNP incumbent has courted a lot of controversy and as the constituency is so far from London he feels this will be a bigger issue than any national ones.
Kayleigh: Blaenau Gwent was Labour's for years before Peter Law won this as an independent in 2005. His then died a year later but his People's Choice party, set up in protest at Labour enforcing women only shortlists, held the seat in the by-election. Kay feels the anger should have died down and Labour will retake this.