Archive for February, 2005

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Will the Lib Dems get their “Ace of Spades”?.

Monday, February 28th, 2005


    Betting opens on Folkestone

How well will the Lib Dems do with their decapitation target number one – Michael Howard? Do they have any chance at all making serious inroads into the Tory leader’s majority in Folkestone?

If you think that they do then a new market offers 2/1 against the Tory leader’s majority being cut. It’s 4/11 on Howards majority increasing.

    So the LDs don’t have to take the seat – just reduce the majority

There is a similar market on Tony Blair but the odds are not as encouraging for the Labour leader. It’s 8/11 on Blair’s Sedgefield majority decreasing with evens on it increasing.

For online links click here. Blair’s majority in Sedgefield.
Howard’s majority in Folkestone.
We get a small commission which goes a little way to keeping the site going.

© Mike Smithson 2005



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Can site regular Mark win where John Prescott hit out?

Monday, February 28th, 2005

Frequent site contributor, Mark Jones – we know him a CymruMark – has asked if he can announce his canditature for Plaid Cymru in the Vale of Clwyd on Politicalbetting.

Rhyl, in the constituency, came to prominence last time because it was there that John Prescott got involved in his famous punch up.

Mark said: I chose to launch on political betting .com because it has become the key site on the internet to discuss possible outcomes for the general election. It attracts many top political commentators, and academics, as well as MPs. It has a huge amount of traffic and as I wanted to ensure Wales is at the centre of the general election debate I thought it the best place to make the public announcement of my candidacy

Mark David Jones – a 40 year old local government officer has a colourful political history having been first a Liberal and then Liberal Democrat activist in his native Leicester.He now lives in Llandudno.

He fought two general election campaigns as a Lib Dem candidate, Wyre Forest in 1992 and Leicester West in 1997.

Betting odds. Plaid Cymru Seats.
0 – 3 : 4/1 4: 5/45 +: 11/10

NOTE: there will be a limited service on the site until next Monday because I am on holiday,

Mike Smithson



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CR Poll – Lib Dems down to 17%

Saturday, February 26th, 2005


Both the Tories and Labour advance
Communicate Research’s monthly poll for tomorrow’s Independent on Sunday shows only minor changes from last month for the two main parties. The headline figures are LAB 41%(+1):CON 34%(+2): LD 17%(-3)

This equals the lowest poll figure for more than a year for Charles Kennedy’s party and reflects that all the recent campaign skirmishes have been between the two main parties.

CR do not prompt for party choice and do not weight on previous vote recall – both factors that hinder the LDs.

When the LDs advance, as they always do, during the campaign it is likely to be at the expense of Labour. The aggregate share for the two parties has been almost constant in all polls at 58-60%. When the LDs fall Labour rise and vice versa.

So when the LDs come back into the spotlight in the campaign then 5-6% might toggle.

Given the way CR do their polls these are good numbers for Michael Howard. Like other recent surveys UKIP seem to be hardly there.

NOTE I am on holiday until a week on Monday which means there will be a limited service on the site.
Mike Smithson



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Are we being misled by the Baxter seat calculation?

Saturday, February 26th, 2005

    Working the swing out from 1997 – not 2001

The standard way of working how many seats a party will get with a given share of the vote is to use one of the seat calculators, most commonly Martin Baxter’s, which makes its prediction based on applying the suggested uniform national swing to what happened in each of the seats in 2001.

But what happens if instead you compare today’s vote shares with what happened in 1997 when a much younger Tony Blair (above) led New Labour to its stunning landlside victory?


    For 2001 was an extraordinary election for Labour which managed see its margin over the Tories decline by more than a quarter but still be returned with a majority of 160+. This was because the party did so much better in its marginals and the fact there was more tactical voting.

But what happens if these two factors do not happen again on the same scale which seem likely? Why not apply recent poll shares to the 1997 General Election result. This is possible thanks to the Hill & Knowlton 2001 calculator which is still available on-line.

When doing this you have to factor in the fact that there will be fewer seats this time because of the Scottish boundary changes.These are reckoned, on a notional basis, to have “lost” Labour 10 seats and the Tories, Lib Dems and the SNP one seat each.

So taking the February ICM poll of LAB 37: CON 34: LD 21 you get the following from Hill & Knowlton with comparisons on doing the same calculation with Baxter. LAB 336 (-33): CON 215 (+26) : LD 63 (+9).

Thus instead of Baxter’s prediction of a Labour majority of more than 90 Hill & Knowlton, adjusted for Scotland, gives you a Labour majority of just 25.

Which one’s right? Hard to say but the special factors that saw Labour get so many seats for its vote in 2001 won’t exist to the same extent as last time. Making the calculation, as H&N does, on the 1997 result puts today’s uniform national swing predictions into perspective – vital for all those spread-betting.
© Mike Smithson 2005



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YouGov puts Labour 6% ahead

Friday, February 25th, 2005

    The internet pollster should steady Labour nerves

This month’s YouGov poll for the Daily Telegraph has LAB 38 CON 32 LD 21

This goes in the opposite direction of the week’s ICM and MORI polls which is probably explained by the fact that YG do not filter by whether people are likely to vote.

So the pollsters that usually favour Labour have shown Tory progress while the normally pro-Tory internet pollster has a different view. Discuss.

NOTE I am on holiday until a week on Monday which means there will be a limited service on the site.
Mike Smithson



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The next week on Politicalbetting

Thursday, February 24th, 2005

I am going on holiday tonight and will not be back until a week on Monday which means there will be a limited service on the site over the next ten days.

I can just about generate new articles and publish them on my Sony Ericsson 910 smart phone, and have one or two general items in my “store”, but the level of coverage will be reduced.

When I return I will be devoting myself full-time, apart from a house move, to the site until after the General Election – assuming it is on May 5th. I’m changing jobs and have arranged things to give me this time off.

Thanks to everybody for all their support.

Mike Smithson



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Tories back at 200 on spread markets

Thursday, February 24th, 2005

    Mori’s 37% Tory share gives market a boost

Today’s Mori poll in the FT has led, inevitably, to money going on the Tories in the spread-betting markets. The shares of LAB 39: CON 37: LD 18 are the best for Michael Howard’s party for years and were only exceeded in the strange circumstances of the 2000 petrol crisis and in the aftermath of David Kelly’s death in 2003.

Following on from the improved figures from ICM earlier in the week it is not surprising that the market consensus is moving to the Tories getting more than 200 seats in the coming General Election.

The IG Index price fix this morning was: LAB 352-359: CON 193-200: LD 68-72. putting the buy Tory level at the 200 mark for the first time in months. You can still get slightly better value with the Spreadfair exchange which has LAB 357-361.5: CON 191.2 – 196: LD 69-71.4

    With a further poll from YouGov expected tomorrow it’s possible we will see further movements during the day. YG usually shows better Tory figures than the other pollsters and it’s possible that the new number could have Michael Howard ahead.

With the race looking as though it will be closer than people were predicting the prices on the turnout have also moved. It’s now just evens on 60% or more. A month ago this was more than 3/1.

NOTE: If site users are opening accounts or placing bets then please use our links. The only income we receive to help keep us going is from commissions from bookmakers.

© Mike Smithson 2005



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Mori poll: Tories up 5% to 37%

Thursday, February 24th, 2005

    Are Labour’s campaign tactics working?

The February MORI poll for the Financial Times has the Tories up 5% to one of their highest levels for a long time. The vote shares with comparisons to the January survey are:- LAB 39: CON 37 (+5): LD 18 (-4).

The move to the Tories is in line with the ICM poll on Tuesday and seems partly at the expense of “others” which would appear to be down at 6% – reflecting a big decline in support for UKIP. It also follows Labour intensive campaign launch with Tony Blair’s six city helicopter tour, the pledge card launch, and last week’s high profile day on Channel 5.

    Today’s figures mean that Mori are showing an 8% move to the Tories since October and would seem to underline ICM’s message that the Labour attempt to “demonise” the Tory leader is not working

Most of the survey was carried out before the Tory announcement on the council discount for pensioners which many commentators believe will give Michael Howard a further boost.

Apart from a survey immediatly after the David Kelly suicide in 2003 the 37% Tory share is the highest for the party since the petrol crisis in September 2000 when a 39% Mori share was reported. A big difference between today’s Mori poll and the February ICM poll is the support level for the Lib Dems. ICM had them at 21% – the level they have been at for months – while Mori is showing a 4% decline.

There are three things to note about Mori’s methodology:-

  • They are the remaining “face-to-face” survey amongst the national opinion pollsters
  • This survey only includes those who say they are “certain to vote”.
  • Mori do not weight by past vote recall – a measure used by the majority of pollsters to ensure they are getting a proper sample
  • Labour nerves will be steadied by the fact that if this poll is replicated at the General Election and there is a uniform national swing then the Baxter seat calculation has: LAB 371: CON 208: LD 38.

    The Tories will be encouraged by Mori’s record of overstatement of Labour. Their final poll four years ago had a lead for Tony Blair of 15% against the 9.3% that actually happened.

    The Lib Dems will recall that Mori tends to show party shares which are on the low side and in the February 2001 survey had them at 14% against the 18.8% that they actually achieved.

    The confirmation by a second poll of what ICM found earlier in the week will encourage further moves to the Tories on the spreadbetting markets where we expect Michael Howard’s party to rise above the 200 mark.

    Tomorrow the YouGov poll should be published in the Daily Telegraph which – if the trend of ICM and Mori is repeated – could see the Tories back in the lead.

    © Mike Smithson 2005