Archive for the 'Betting' Category


Interesting new leaders’ betting market – but where’s the value?

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Which of ED/Nick/Dave/Nige/Alex will do worst in their seats?

This clearly is a competition between Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage and my inclination would be the latter. Thanet South looks as though it will be a tighter contest than Sheffield Hallam.

Which of ED/Nick/Dave/Nige/Alex will do best in their seats?

This is a hard one because nobody really knows what the scale of the SNP surge will be by the time we get to May 7th. If it is on the lines of the recent Ipsos-MORI poll then Salmond, with his high name recognition will do very well.

The Cameron price looks value given he got 58.8% in Witney at GE10. But he’s very vulnerable to UKIP and other parties that he might well get below 50%. Last month’s Doncaster North poll from Lord Ashcroft had EdM on 54%.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Latest polls bring just a little bit of relief for LAB but it’s going to be a struggle to win most seats

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

But still this battle is mighty tight

At the end of a week that has seen the worst LAB polling shares since GE10 the latest two polls from Populus and YouGov will come as something of a relief. As can be seen leads of 4% and 2% are recorded.

Ed Miliband’s prospects are so tied up with Scotland and the overnight local by-election news form a ward within Gordon Brown’s constituency won’t have helped things.

On the polling I don’t know what’s coming up this weekend apart from the usual YouGov Sunday Times survey.

The betting, meanwhile, reflects the polling.

LAB & CON still level-pegging on Sporting Index spreads
LAB 282
CON 282
LD 28
UKIP 8.5
SNP 32 -new high

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Why I’m now betting that Cameron will not appear in any leaders’ debate

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

ITV promotion 1st Debate April 2010

6/4 seems a good price on the PM not takink part

On Monday I spent several hours in Westminster talking to key figures and attending the Robert Hayward briefing (see a previous post). One of the things I tried to get a sense of was the debates. Are these going to happen?

The message I got was that those round Mr. Cameron are adamant that it is to the blue’s team’s advantage if the Prime Minister doesn’t take part. It appears that the view is being taken that the risk of him appearing alongside other leaders is greater the than negatives there will be for seen to be avoiding them.

It’s a calculation they’ve made and from the Number 10 perspective seems wise. The downside risk of Farage or Miliband being given a boost is simply too great. Dave scores well in the ratings so leave it at that.

The one thing with the potential to change this is the threat of one or all of the broadcasters deciding on an empty chair policy. That might happen though there are reasons to think that it won’t.

At the BBC the big corporate consideration is the renewal of its charter and it wouldn’t want to do anything to rock the boat. ITV, it is felt, would follow the BBC leaving Sky as a possibility.

That might happen but the threat, in my view, is not strong enough for Dave to change his mind. In fact it might help the Tory cause with Nick Clegg being left to pick up all the brick-bats for the coalition.

I’m on no TV debates involving the PM at 7/4 in the Betfair Sportsbook market, That’s now 6/4.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


So far at least the post-IndyRef SNP surge has barely been seen in Scottish local by-elections

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Just compare that with the UKIP experience in England

Yesterday I attended the annual media briefing by the respected elections analyst and former Conservative MP Robert Hayward. It was a packed and thought provoking session which will be reflected in the media in the coming weeks.

There are a number of slides that he produced that I’ll be publishing here the first of which appears above – what has happened in local elections in Scotland since the SNP post referendum polling surge started.

We all know that the big move to UKIP in the polls in England has been reflected in the Thursday local council by-elections that we feature every week. Farage’s party is performing extraordinarily well and the results add credence to the very high shares it is getting in the national opinion polls.

So given the dramatic changes in Scotland that have appeared in the polls since September 18th you might have expected a similar pattern in local elections. Rob Hayward’s chart above suggests that it hasn’t so far.

At the session I raised a point that Antifrank has been making on his blog and in his comments on PB – that the SNP is only the favourite in the betting to take five or six Scottish seats off LAB in the general election on May 7th. If activists on the ground thought that they were in with a shout to take seats then they’d be betting on it.

Maybe there’s a natural reluctance to gamble before we see the promised single constituency polling from Lord Ashcroft. I understand that but if the Scottish polls are correct then there’s money to be made a good odds in a number of seats.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Bet on the coalition of your choice with your money back if it’s a minority government

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

Interesting offer from Betfair Sportsbook

Betfair Sportsbook, the traditional bookmaker wing of the betting exchange, looks as though it is getting serious about the coming general election and has been putting some interesting markets up. One which several spotted was 4/9 on Nick Clegg retaining Sheffield Hallam which was far better than what was offered elsewhere. Sadly that’s gone but there are other interesting wagers.

I like the above coalition market because of the detail in the market rules “Market will only be active in the event of a declared coalition government after the 2015 General Election. In the event of a minority government or government forming, all bets will be void.”

So you get your money back if a minority government emerges.

My current view is that Scotland won’t be as bad for Labour as it looked before Christmas, and it will be the red team that is in the best position to form a coalition…

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


After the confusing messages from the polls punters seem to be backing Ashcroft rather than Populus

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

As a general rule CON backers most influenced by good news

After yesterday’s Lord Ashcroft CON 6% lead poll and the Populus 5% LAB one it looks as though the markets are being more influenced by the former rather than the latter.

This is in keeping with what we’ve seen historically – CON backers tend to be the most optimistic.

    In fact at only one recent UK general election, 2005, have the spread markets pointed to a better outcome for the blues than actually happened.

A big challenge for punters is working out what poll shares mean in seat terms and there’s no sure and safe guide to this – even more so since the SNP surge in Scotland. In England Ashcroft had the Tories with an 8% lead which is 3.4% down on what the party secured at GE2010. On a theoretical uniform swing in England the Tories would lose about 20 seats to LAB

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Exactly a year to go before the WH2016 primaries start and Senator Elizabeth Warren is moving into the frame

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Could she beat Hillary for Democratic party nomination

Last night I had an 8/1 bet on Massachusetts Senator, Elizabeth Warren, to be the Democratic party nominee in next year’s White House race. She’s now second favourite in the betting and looks like she’d be a serious challenger if she decided to go for it.

Until now the widespread assumption has been that this is going to be a shoo in for Hillary Clinton who is the odds on favourite, just as she was eight years ago before the tough fight with Obama.

Senator Elizabeth Warren has ruled out being a contender but that has not stopped a growing movement to persuade her to put her hat into the ring. It’s reported that 200,000 have now joined an effort called “Run Warren Run” which has started raising money.

Like Hillary Senator Warren is in her 60s and has come to the fore in recent months over the bank bailouts and the need for much tougher regulation of the big financial institutions. She’s lucid and a convincing speaker. She comes over well on TV and looks as though she would do well in the TV debates.

The big question mark is whether she’s interested and how she’ll respond to the growing clamour.

At 8/1 she seems a good bet.

Mike Smithson

Ranked as one of the most influential over 50s on Twitter


A week into the new year and the betting markets still very uncertain about what’s going to happen

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Only change a slight uptick for SNP

Yesterday evening I was at the BBC offices next to parliament to record a discussion with Ipsos-MORI boss, Ben Page, about the coming election and what’s going to happen. This is due to go out on Radio 4’s “The Week in Westminster” programme at 11am on Saturday morning.

The overwhelming theme was one of uncertainty. How many LAB seats are going to fall to the SNP in Scotland?, what’ll be the impact of the growing new forces the Greens and UKIP and what did we think would happen if the outcome was inconclusive?

Ben made a point which has been seen in his polling – Ed has far worse ratings than Dave but Labour is liked by more and disliked by fewer voters than the Tories. Which will be decisive?

The presenter, Sue Cameron, did put us on the spot about the likely outcome at the end to which we both responded.

This huge uncertainty is showing in the betting. As seen by the latest commons seats spreads above LAB is seen to just have the edge but not by very much.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble