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Election Battles 1945-1997
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1992
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1992: Major confounds the polls
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1992: graph

Watch and listen 1992
Election results from the Today Programme
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The poll tax riots in London
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BBC Radio’s newsflash of Margaret Thatcher’s resignation
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John Major gets on his soapbox
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Labour in triumphant mood at the Sheffield Rally
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Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown on the campaign trail
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Party vote share
Out of the Commons
Margaret Thatcher
Norman Tebbit
Michael Foot
John Maples
Francis Maude
Rosie Barnes
Gerry Adams

John Major had every reason to be proud of the results of the 1992 general election.

Not only had he succeeded in clinging onto power, he had also managed to get the most votes received by any political party in a British general election.

The Conservatives took a little over 14 million ballots as turnout rose for the second election in a row to 77.7%.

Taking 41.9% of the vote, Major polled only 0.5% less than Margaret Thatcher did when she won her landslide victory in 1983.

But this time the Conservative majority was much lower. Major took 336 seats to Labour's 271, with the new Liberal Democrats taking 20 seats in their first general election.

The swing to Labour of 2.2% was not enough to see it rise above the share of the vote it polled when it fell from power in 1979.

Labour took 34.4% to the Lib Dems' 17.8%, further widening the gap between the two parties.

But what could the future hold for Labour in the face of persistent electoral defeats, despite drastic policy changes since the previous election.

For the Liberal Democrats the result was a solid achievement from a low base.

With all the angst over mergers, names and splits, the party had at least managed to keep its support fairly steady, in terms of seats if not in share of the vote.