Despite delivering thousands of leaflets and spending hours walking the streets canvassing, most candidates privately think they have a good idea of where the balance of power will be after next week's elections.

In the case of the borough council, the pendulum cannot swing very far.

At Hertsmere, because only 15 of the 39 seats are up for election, mathematically neither Labour nor the Liberal Democrats can take control.

Currently, Conservatives hold 28 seats, Liberal Democrats have six and Labour four.

In theory, the ruling Tories could lose their overall majority if they lost each of the nine seats that are being contested that they currently hold. But with majorities in Elstree and Radlett traditionally totting up to several hundred, this seems as likely as Councillor Frank Ward kissing and making-up with the Labour Party.

The result in Mr Ward's current Kenilworth ward will provide an interesting sideshow at the vote count next Friday. If the bitter dispute between the incumbent councillor and his former party splits the traditional Labour vote between him and the party's official candidate, Peter Hedges, the Tories could make a further inroad into traditionally Labour Borehamwood. The pair are also up against each other for election to Elstree and Borehamwood Town Council.

At the town council, where Labour are currently in control, all 13 seats are up for grabs. Voting patterns tend to follow general levels of affluence.

Cowley Hill is Labour's safest seat, which is reflected in the fact that it has the lowest average weekly household income in the area - £590.

Elstree, at the other end of the scale, with an average weekly household income of £1,010, is seen as unwinnable for anyone but the Tories.

Similarly, it is tempting to see the result of the Aldenham Parish Council election, which covers the leafy villages of Radlett, Aldenham and Letchmore Heath, as a foregone conclusion.

Currently, all 12 seats are held by the Conservative Party.

Polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm on Thursday. The results will be published on the Borehamwood & Elstree Times website on Friday at