It may sound like a cliche that has been stated before every previous election, but this General Election really will be like none we've seen before. Traditional party allegiances are crumbling and minor parties rising fast. Almost any number of potential results and coalitions are in the mix. More individual seats than ever before are becoming competitive.
This political change reflects the new media world, where every shade of opinion and analysis is available 24/7, yet no news organisation is universally trusted. Where audiences can choose an outlet that mirrors their own worldview, even if it means recycling rubbish. Against such a backdrop of distrust, predicting how voters will behave is trickier than ever and the mainstream media have so far been well behind the curve.
Very few foresaw the dramatic rise of UKIP in this parliament, or even the Greens' recent surge. The Scottish Independence Referendum was widely dismissed as a doomed, ruinous SNP vanity project. Yet not only was that initial battle much closer than expected, the SNP are winning the war, transforming the electoral map and coalition mathematics.
However while detachment and political bias may prevent others from providing reliable analysis and predictions, there is one guide with a gold-plated record. The market, as best represented by the odds on Betfair Exchange. Our peer-to-peer betting exchange offers the ultimate test of the wisdom of crowds. When it comes recent elections, the crowd has repeatedly been proved right (see box below).
Over the next 100 days, Betfair Predicts will be covering all election angles, providing a wide range of betting markets, plus a stack of in-depth analysis. Using our unique Exchange data, combined with expert opinion from pundits and professional bettors, we'll cut through the myriad of polls and media froth to deliver accurate predictions on the outcome.
Much can and will change over the next 100 days, but right now, the Betfair Exchange predicts a Hung Parliament (rated a 74% chance) with the Conservatives winning the Most Seats (52%).
You can follow these markets along with the rest of our comprehensive coverage here at Betting.Betfair and @BetfairPredicts on Twitter.
Four times the Exchange got it right
In the Scottish referendum, the Exchange correctly predicted a 'No' vote 432 days early. Indeed Betfair was so confident the exchange would be proved right, we paid out a six-figure sum from our Sportsbook early.
In the last US election in 2012, labelled as 'too close to call' by pundits even on the decisive night, the Exchange predicted a Democrat victory 978 days ahead of the poll.
Earlier that year when Boris Johnson was re-elected as London Mayor in another very tight contest, the market correctly called it 598 days early.
In the last UK General Election, the Exchange correctly backed a Hung Parliament 21 days out.