In a punishing last leg of campaigning Gordon Brown launched a final push to save his premiership – pinning his hopes on the millions of undecided voters who could still decide to vote Labour.
The Prime Minister got up at 5am to tour Yorkshire and the North West before heading to Scotland for a final rally last night.
Although both Labour's and Mr Brown's opinion poll ratings remain poor, the party's strategists are drawing comfort from signs that the Tories are failing to make a decisive breakthrough, and that the Liberal Democrat surge is fading.
They insist the outcome lies in the hands of the record number of voters who say they still have not made up their minds.
One Labour source last night estimated the proportion of "undecideds" at up to 20 per cent and added: "A lot of people are still weighing up their options and might not decide what to do until the final moment they go into the polling stations."
The party, confident it can avoid the humiliation of coming third in the popular vote, hopes its accusations that the Tories would cut child tax credit will deter younger women voters, in particular, from backing David Cameron.
It also claims that Liberal Democrat supporters are switching to Labour in Tory target seats in Devon, Somerset and Kent.
Labour morale has been raised by the passionate speech delivered by Mr Brown at the Citizens UK conference in London on Monday. The party says it helped galvanise activists and prompted £100,000 in donations from supporters.
"He has really found his voice in the last few days because he understands what is at stake," one colleague said.
However, the late fillip follows a campaign that has failed to catch fire as Mr Brown was eclipsed by the dramatic groundswell of support for the Liberal Democrats.
In his final campaign memo to Labour members, Lord Mandelson insisted the election result was "still too close to call".
The Labour campaign supremo added: "David Cameron thought this election would be a coronation, that he could just waltz into Downing Street. It has turned out very differently."
Speaking at Bradford University, Mr Brown said: "I know there are people who say, or hope, the election is already over. But I tell you that tomorrow is the time for the thousands of people to speak for themselves.
"Tomorrow doesn't belong to the press, to the commentators, to the insiders, to the vested interests or even to the political parties. Tomorrow your voice shall be heard and your vote will determine the direction of this country."
Mr Brown, widely judged by the public to have been the poorest performer in the televised leaders' debates, conceded he was "not the star candidate or the best PR man".
But he added: "This is who I am. I tell you, adversity has been my teacher, honesty has been my best guide, and faith in the future the greatest source of my strength.
"So here we are, fired up with new determination; we are full of energy and firm of purpose."
Mr Brown seized on a forecast by the European Commission today that suggested that Britain would recover strongly from the recession next year.
"Today the European Union have confirmed that under our policies Britain will be the fastest growing in Europe next year," he said.
"But only under the policies we are pursuing. So jobs will come but only under the policies we are pursuing, and we must do nothing to put it at risk because on this all else depends."
The Prime Minister said that, "with humility", he pledged to fight for the British people if he were re-elected.
"With that same humility I ask for your vote and ask you to vote not just for me but to vote for yourself, for your family, vote for your future – and see Labour as your best home and your best hope."
With polls pointing strongly to a hung parliament, Mr Brown continued to brush aside questions about potential deals with the other main parties.
"We wait until the electorate makes a decision. We, as a Labour Party, have to accept the decision of the electorate," he told ITV News.
"I'm not going to be arrogant enough either to assume the election going this way or that, or to presume the will of the British people. The British people are the boss.
"I want to persuade the British people who are still making up their minds that we are a serious party with a serious plan for Britain's future."Reuse content