By Daniel Hunter

With less than 24 hours until the nation votes on the next government and Prime Minister, a poll of 2,000 Brits has found that Richard Branson is people’s top choice businessperson to lead the country.

According to the survey by small business lender Everline, 36% of Britons think that Branson is the best business person to step into David Cameron’s shoes. Entrepreneur and star of BBC's The Apprentice, Lord Sugar came in second with 16% of the vote.

Female business bosses fared badly in the survey. Deborah Meaden from Dragon's Den and Karren Brady secured just 5% of votes each. Younger respondents were more likely to pick Deborah Meaden for PM — amongst 18-24-year-olds, she secured 9% of votes. Richard Branson topped the list with just 21% of this age group.

Some 3% of respondents would vote for Facebook founder Mark Zuckerbeg, and 4% of respondents would like to see celebrity chef Jamie Oliver in Number 10.

Despite his global success in TV and music, Simon Cowell struggled to show that he has the X-Factor to lead the country, with just 3% of votes. But, younger people are a bit more likely to think that Simon has the political prowess needed to be PM, with 7% of 25-34-year-olds picking him for the country’s top job.

Russell Gould, COO of Everline, said: “The business success, ambition and charisma of Richard Branson, Alan Sugar and Deborah Meaden make them great choices to lead the country. Yet, there is a distinct lack of equally aspirational younger business leaders to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.

"We hope that the new government will do more to help small businesses get the support they need to grow, including access to advice and different finance options. This will help pave the way for the next generation of Richard Branson's to inspire people to start their own business and propel the UK’s economic growth.”