It was an election that resulted in diminished numerical voter expectations on the part of all three leading parties, but the David Cameron led Conservatives ultimately finished on top.
The Tories anticipated winning a clear majority of parliamentary seats. Instead they fell short by 20 seats, gaining 306. The popular vote share of 36.1 percent was comparable to that achieved by Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair in his last of three national victories.
That early morning of 2005 Blair looked somber, like a losing candidate, while wife Cherie looked close to tears. An immediate tug of war commenced in earnest thereafter to coax Blair to resign and give then Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown a chance to establish a positive record and image before facing Britain's voters.
Brown almost certainly knew from the outset that achieving another electoral victory for Labour would be difficult. First of all, Blair sought to stay on longer than his party wanted him. Increasingly broader hints turned to a gigantic shove at the Labour Party Conference at which Blair finally announced he would step down.
Brown was perceived as a far from ideal candidate. His confrontational manner during the televised candidates debates caused many voters to react negatively according to the polls.
In reality the attack strategy was born of increasing awareness that his party was behind. Cameron and Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats had played on voter dissatisfaction in urging leadership change. Brown was compelled to defend the Labour record and attacked both rivals in a bid to alter popular sentiment.
The incumbent prime minister ultimately toppled under negative Tony Blair baggage. Not only had the economy gone sour, leaving voters seeking change, but the negative impact of the Downing Street Memo redounded not only against Blair but his party.
In that Labour dropped 91 seats from the last election and polled a miserable 29 percent, this result clearly revealed that voters sought change.