It’s finally over: Eastleigh goes to the polls

Voters in Eastleigh will go the polls with a sigh of relief today, after a frantic by-election campaign which has seen Westminster's politicians and journalists descend en masse to the Hampshire constituency.

Polls opened at 07:00 GMT and will close at 22:00 GMT, before results are released around 02:00 GMT tomorrow morning. will be covering the event with a live blog starting when the polls close tonight.

Based on bookmaker's odds, the Liberal Democrats are 75.8% likely to win, with the Tories in second place on 12.8%, Ukip on 11.1% and Labour on 0.2%.

Most of the final opinion polls in the constituency suggest a tight race between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, although Ukip are seen as the party with the most momentum and some analysts even predict they could win the seat.

Over the course of the campaign William Hill has dropped the odds on a Ukip victory from 100/1 to 5/1.

It is unclear if the ongoing scandal around Lord Rennard has dented Lib Dem support but early indications are that voters are motivated primarily by local concerns rather than the national picture.

Writing on his blog last night, Labour candidate John O'Farrell admitted he had struggled to get a positive message about politics across to voters.

"I have failed to persuade some voters here that politics isn't just that stuff on the news and the leaflets through your door. It's your kids' school, it's the lighting in your street, it's the pot holes in the pavement, the aircraft carrier that does or doesn't have aircraft and the local hospital that is opened or closed," he wrote.

"Now I'm going out to deliver more last minute leaflets and tomorrow I'll be knocking on as many doors as possible.

"There are doorbells telling us to 'F*ck Off'. But you just keep going because you think it's important."