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The money’s chasing the Tories in the wrong market

May 13th, 2004

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The fact that political gamblers are people who back their views about political outcomes with hard cash does not make them any more “right” than the rest of the population. In fact the nature of gambling is that at least half of all the money that’s bet will be lost.

    At the moment we see big money going on the Conservatives for a General Election win that could be two years away with all the uncertainties not least because there could be a new Prime Minister– and conversely it’s going on Labour in the main betting market in the elections that are just four weeks away – a day when many are predicting a Labour “voters’ strike. “

The General Election SELL price on Labour has dropped from 335 to 320 seats since early April. There’s significant money going on the Conservatives to win most seats and in five weeks the price on the Betfair betting exchange, a sensitive barometer of the market mood, has moved from 4.5 to 3.6. Last night’s spread betting changes were:-

LAB 320-330 (-3)
CON 248- 258 (+3)
LIB 53-58 (+1)
Lab need 324 seats to maintain a Commons majority.

The “Tories winning most seats” bet is one that we have been urging punters to avoid because the distribution of Commons seats makes it very difficult for the Conservatives to achieve this goal. On a uniform national swing they need a lead on votes of at least 7% and until now that has seemed completely out of the question. Thus even if the Populus poll with its unadjusted Conservative lead of 6% was repeated on a national basis the Tories would still be 26 seats behind Labour.

But in the only big market for the June 10 elections political gamblers continue to pile the cash onto Labour in the London Mayoral Election. At the time of this posting you can still get 7 on the Tories and 9 on Steve Norris.

    Why should Tony Blair be seen as such a disaster for the General Election but his chosen man for London be seen as such a hot favourite in the voting that takes place in just four weeks time? If London voters want to give Blair a bloody nose in the London Mayor election their only option is NOT to support Livingstone.

Political gamblers are being totally irrational especially in the light of this week’s YouGov poll which had him just 5% ahead amongst those “certain to vote”. Yes Ken Livingstone does have a personal following but is it going to be big enough to outdo the huge Tory surge that’s going to produce gains everywhere on “Super Thursday”?

You make real money political gambling when you go against the tide.






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