Archive for the 'Betting' Category


Now the betting money moves to an IndyRef YES – up in a week from 14.2% chance to a 20% one

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

But can Salmond versus Darling change the fundamentals?

Make no mistake – this is a massive day in the Scottish IndyRef Campaign. For tonight the First Minister of Scotland takes on the leader of “Better Together” the former UK chancellor, Alistair Darling, in a two hour long live TV debate.

So far this is the only such debate that had been agreed and those wanting independence are hoping that Salmond can use it to turn the campaign round to YES.

The polling has all been that NO is leading albeit with quite a variation between the pollsters. Survation at the weekend had the NO lead at just 6% which suggests that with a 3% swing YES could make it on September 18th.

Salmond is charismatic, articulate and engaging and all the betting has been that the post debate polls will have him as the winner. But Salmond knows that this is about much more than being deemed winner of a TV event. He has to deal with the concerns of those Scottish voters who are nervous about making such a jump apparently into the unknown.

Darling is a much quieter figure but no less formidable.

In all these big TV political occasions it is not necessarily the detailed arguments that are central but the manner in which the protagonists are seen by TV viewers. Some are suggesting that Darling should play it “boring” and let Salmond overdo with hubris.

The event is being organised and broadcast in Scotland by STV and will be available to viewers round the world via YouTube. No doubt links will be available during the day.

I’ll be watching with Betfair app open on my tablet ready to move if opportunities arise.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


The Scottish IndyRef is set to be the biggest non-general election UK political betting event ever

Friday, August 1st, 2014

The chart above from Betfair fits in with messages coming from the traditional bookies about the huge betting interest in the September 18th Scottish referendum. I track this daily and have been amazed that this far out there has been so much activity.

Generally in election markets 90%+ of all bets are cast within the final week. If that holds here then a huge amount will be gambled overall.

A fair bit depends on the polling and while YES remains within striking the betting interest will rise.

A fortnight tomorrow I’m part of a panel at the Festival of Politics in Edinburgh talking about this and other issues. Apart from the event itself I’m really looking forward to being back in Scotland a month before its makes its momentous decision.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


The chances of a LAB majority have dropped by 10% since the budget according to Betfair punters

Friday, August 1st, 2014

But Labour’s inherent electoral advantages could be being ignored

Exactly 8 months today on April 1st 2015 the formal general election campaign will begin and my intention at the start of every month is to monitor betting prices on the Betfair exchange to see how the mood is changing.

The chart above shows current latest trades on the firm’s GE2015 outcome market and has comparisons with what it was just before the March 2014 budget. As can be seen the big “loser” in the period has been LAB. Then the chances of a major were rated at just under 40% – now that is down to below 30%.

The gainers in that period have been a CON majority and no overall majority.

    But be warned. In 2010 the betting markets overall overstated the Tories and LDs and seriously understated Labour. That might be happening again.

Just before the polling opened in May 2010 the Commons seats buy level on LAB seats was 222. They got 258 producing a nice profit for those who got on.

On the face of it the historical LAB ability to achieve a substantially better votes:seats ratio than other parties doesn’t seem to be reflected in the betting.

I’m really looking forward to the next round of Lord Ashcroft polling which, apparently, embraces slightly less marginal CON held seats than we’ve seen in earlier rounds. Hopefully this will give us better pointers.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


There’s been no Glasgow games boost yet for IndyRef YES on Betfair – now rated by punters as a 14.2% chance

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

But betting interest remains strong with nearly £1.1m traded

The pre-Commonwealth games expectations that the Glasgow events would provide a boost for independence campaigners has yet to be materialised if Betfair punters are anything to go by. Even though Scottish athletes are having their best games ever punters appear unmoved.

The last trade on Yes as I write was at 7 which equates to a 14.2% chance – not far off it’s bottom. In fact just £108 of the £1,070,000 matched on Betfair has been at prices longer than that,

What we haven’t seen is any polling that’s been carried out since the start of the games a week ago. If that provides some positive news for YES then we could see prices turn.

A feature of the YES campaign that resonates badly is that every development is presented by them as good news. Their messaging would have a lot more credibility if they acknowledged set backs when they happen.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


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

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