Archive for the 'Betting' Category


Henry G Manson says get on Andy Burnham as EdM’s successor – it might be a good bet

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Longstanding PBers will know that Henry G Manson’s has a great record with his tips on anything to do with LAB. He was dead right on EdM in 2010 and his guidance has proved pretty good over the years.

This morning he emailed me to suggest that Andy Burnham was a great bet for next LAB leader. He cited as evidence the above survey by Labourlist on the net shadow cabinet favourability ratings a recent survey on the site had thrown up.

The results are striking and suggest that Burnham has good grass roots support.

Henry didn’t indicate whether an early contest was on the cards.

I should add that although I’ve been dealings with Henry over many years I do not know his identify.

But experience tells me that when he says something in the Labour Party is a good bet then he’s likely to be right.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Latest from the “Polling Observatory” is that there’s been a slow decline in CON prospects but GE2015 still too close to call

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

CON and LAB movements not going with historical trends

Each month political scientists at a group of universities put out a GE2015 forecast under the rather grandiose banner of “The Polling Observatory” which is based on current polling and historical polling experience. The latest is in the chart above.

A can be seen CON and LAB are close but things do need to be moving more the blue way given what’s happened in the past. This is from their latest report:

“This movement reflects the fact that Labour are holding their support, where the historical record suggests we should be expecting declines at this point. In contrast, the forecast for the Conservatives is on a downward slope, indicating that they are not making the gains that history would typically expect. Our colleague Steven Fisher has found similar trends in his model, which also builds on historical polling data. If the current poll lead continues into the autumn, the Conservatives may well need to start worrying – the accuracy of polling as a predictor of the general election outcome steadily increases as we enter the last six months…

.. The relative stasis in the polls is partly because the structural weaknesses of parties and leaders (Miliband’s poor ratings, the damaged Tory brand, and the Liberal Democrat betrayal) are all priced in to the polling numbers we have been seeing. This means that axioms such as that ‘oppositions need to be further ahead at this stage’ or that ‘governments will always be rewarded for a growing economy’ may not necessarily come to fruition given the listlessness of the polls.

… A polling swing back would provide the Conservatives with a valuable morale boost, but thanks to the disadvantages of the electoral system, Cameron’s party still have a lot to do even if the tide of public opinion starts to turn in their favour.”

In my view we really need to wait until the IndyRef and the party conferences have come and gone. What will be the numbers look like in late October and early November.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


On a uniform swing Nicky Morgan’s Loughborough goes LAB even if CON win most votes nationally

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Ladbrokes make it LAB 10/11 and CON 10/11

The above table is based on the Electoral Calculus projection of what happens on national vote shares of CON 36, LAB 35.6, LD, 12, UKIP 9.

The seat highlighted is Nicky Morgan’s Loughborough which as can be seen would go LAB even though EdM’s party would be behind on national vote share. This would be the 316th LAB seat leaving the party ten short of an overall majority.

Morgan, who yesterday took over Michael Gove’s job as Secretary of State at Education, is the Tory cabinet minister who is most vulnerable at the election. Her seat is so on the margin that currently Ladbrokes have both CON and LAB as 10/11 joint favourites.

My purpose is to highlight the challenge facing the Tories because of the way the electoral system works. If by any chance the above national vote shares happened and the swing was the same in every seat LAB would come out with 28 more MPs than the Tories.

    In fact the Tories would still be losing seats to LAB even if they had a 6% national vote lead.

A part of this is down to the boundaries but not that much. The main reasons why the system appears to work so much in favour of the red team are much lower turnout levels in heartland seats and that the party finds it much harder to get its vote out in constituencies where the result is a foregone conclusion.

All of this can be upset by incumbents, particularly first time ones like Morgan, performing better than the national swing. Tory supporters shouldn’t rely too much on that. Some of the Ashcroft polling has shown that there is disproportionate LD-LAB switching in key battlegrounds.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Post-reshuffle leadership betting: The new Foreign Secretary comes into the picture

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

The Ladbrokes 14/1 looks good value

The big winner in the reshuffle is, undoubtedly, the new Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, who, with Theresa May, have been my long term bets at longish odds for Cameron’s successor. I got him originally at 41/1 and overnight I’ve put more on at 16.5 on Betfair and 14/1 with Ladbrokes

This looks a great price for someone who now occupies one of the three great offices of State and would be in an ideal position to compete if GE2015 goes against the Tories and we have an early leadership election.

    There’s a great rule in Tory contests – long term favourites never get it. Just ask John Major, William Hague, IDS, and David Cameron who all were elected in spite of not being favourite.

I got Cameron in September 2005 at 11/1.

One thing that Hammond has got going for himself is his back story which might fit the mood next May. He was state school educated followed by Oxford and a successful career in industry. After failing to win in 2015 with one old Etonian in charge would the party really choose another?

Hammond’s also older, 58, than the current crop of party leaders who all got their jobs while in their early/mid 40. This I’d suggest, will be seen as a strength if the Tories do lose power.

He would have been Treasury Secretary in May 2010 if the Tories had won a majority and is now into his third cabinet role since the general election.

You could see a leadership contest being fought out by Boris, Theresa, Osborne and Hammond. If he got through the first stage, the parliamentary party election, he’d do well in the final run off members’ ballot which is restricted to the top two from the MPs process.

His chances, of course, are very much dependent on a Tory defeat at GE2015.

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter


Ex-UKIP leader chosen by Tories to fight the seat’s where Farage is said to be interested

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

The tactical anti-UKIP vote could now go to LAB


Thanet South: Where UKIP is the betting favourite for GE2015 even though the polls have it in 3rd place

Friday, July 4th, 2014

Could Farage be named as candidate quite soon?

At the time of the Newark by-election Nigel Farage indicated that he’d be announcing which seat he’d contest at GE2015 by “the end of the month”.

Well we’ve now moved into July and we haven’t heard. But the speculation continues that Farage will choose the Kent seat of Thanet South which was won by the Tories from LAB at GE2010.

It was one of the seats polled by Lord Ashcroft in May and this found that UKIP was in third place five points behind the Tories and four behind LAB.

Because of the speculation that the party leader will be the Ukip candidate Ladbrokes make the party the favourite to win. It’s probably a good choice for UKIP because on paper it looks like a tight three-way marginal where the winner might do it with barely a third of the votes.

    The big danger for Farage is that wherever he stands there’ll be anti-UKIP tactical voting. This happened in Newark and would almost certainly be experienced wherever Farage stands

It will, of course, attract a lot of media attention and party leaders tend to perform better than their parties in their seats that they contest at general elections.

I find the constituency a tricky one to call even without the Ukip dimension. Given current national polling it is right at the margin of what could be possible for Labour.

If Farage is Ukip candidate then the Tory and Labour will both be saying that they are the ones best placed to thwart him. Whatever I’d expect that the LDs share will be squeezed down much further than the poll.

  • An intriguing footnote is that one of the Tory hopefuls short-listed for the Thanet South selection is a former UKIP leader, albeit for just a short time in 1997.
  • Mike Smithson

    Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter


    The polls might be pointing to a comfortable LAB majority – but punters aren’t convinced

    Monday, June 30th, 2014

    LAB’s chances now rated at below 30%

    We’ve not looked at the overall GE2015 betting markets for some while but over the three and a half months since the budget there has been a steady decline in LAB prices with a tightening of both the hung parliament possibility and a CON majority.

    Check on the chart above to see how things have changed since the budget. A LAB majority down from nearly 40% to 29.8%; CON majority up nearly 5% to above 44% and the Tories rated by the markets as a 25.6% chance.

    Just to note that these are calculated by taking the last traded price on Betfair and expressing it as a percentage.

    For value Tory punters can do far better by going onto the single constituency markets. Labour punters are best served by risking their cash on the national outcome.

    I’ve not yet gone in but if the LAB majority price edges a bit down further we’ll reach a stage where it is a really good value bet.

    Upcoming polling: This afternoon there’ll be the Lord Ashcroft phone poll followed by another phone poll later in the evening. Tomorrow sees Lord Ashcroft publishing his LAB-LD marginals survey.

    Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


    If reports of private polling are accurate then the Greens could lose their only MP – Caroline Lucas in Brighton Pavillion

    Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

    You can still get better than evens on Labour

    At the last general election one of the most active constituency betting markets was on Brighton Pavillion where, as we all know, Caroline Lucas won through with a 31.3% vote share to become the Green party’s first MP. The result and vote changes are in the chart above.

    This victory came after years of work in the area during which the Greens built up a very strong councillor base.

      The big question for GE15 is whether she can hold on and until now the bookies have made her favourite.

    That might change following unconfirmed reports that the Greens carried out a private poll in the seat which shows that they are behind LAB by quite a margin.

    The pollster is said to be ICM which carried out surveys for the party ahead of the historic victory in May 2010. I am being told that a new poll was carried out earlier in the year which had the Greens a long way behind.

    The party shares being talked about are in the region of LAB 39% to GRN 23%.

    The best chance that Caroline Lucas has is if she can persuade CON and LD voters that she is the one to support if they want to stop Labour winning.

    I’ve not seen any data or had any confirmation but my source is credible enough for me to have had a punt on Labour at 11/10.

    Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble