With the economy the main issue in the mind of the voters, the Conservatives approach to the election was supremely confident.
The party's manifesto boasted that "we have cut taxes in seven Budgets" and declared sweepingly that it was within the partyís power to double the UK's standard of living within a generation.
Entitled The Next Five Years, it was essentially offering the voters more of the same, firm in the conviction they had never had it so good.
It was a rosy picture from which Labour begged to differ, arguing that the gap between the rich and the poor was growing ever wider.
Their manifesto, Britain Belongs To You, attacked Tory "complacency", but the party failed to wrap its campaign issues into a clear theme.
Carrying their colours into the election campaign the Liberals, although upbeat, were painfully frank admitting they could not hope to form the next government. Pitching themselves to the young, they argued that the stronger the Liberal vote the more the party could do to influence the future government, Tory or Labour.