Archive for the 'Leaders’ TV debates' Category


And so to the first BBC debate

Friday, November 29th, 2019

Now live on BBC 1


On the betting markets the debate has changed nothing

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019

The chart shows the last five days on the Betfair exchange and as can be seen there was almost no movement. The Tories are still rated by punters as having a 65% chance of securing a majority.

This verdict is very much the same as what many leading commentators are saying but I wonder whether the instant view is correct. In the past the on the night judgements have been less than an accurate guide.

One thing we’ve learned from US TV debates is that the impact on public opinion can more relate to how the contenders looked and handled themselves rather than what was actually discussed.

At WH2008 the fact that McCain never looked at Obama in the first debate became a post event issue and was seen as a big negative.

I thought that Johnson’s big mistake was to repeatedly talk over the moderator and never stick to the time limits. This came over as him believing that the rules don’t apply to him and at times it looked like bullying. . Thankfully the studio audience took him down a peg or two with their derisory laughter.

Corbyn’s clearly rehearsed statement on anti semitism was pushing it a bit too far and he got a negative reaction from the audience. I don’t think that a lot of what he said LAB had done will stand up to scrutiny thus ensuring that anti semitism will continue to be an issue.

I look forward to the post-debate leader ratings.

Mike Smithson


And the big verdict – most voters found the debate frustrating

Tuesday, November 19th, 2019


And so to the first leaders’ TV debate of GE2019 – without a remainer

Tuesday, November 19th, 2019

Watch live on PB from 8pm GMT


Johnson starts debate day with punters rating his chances of a majority at 66%

Tuesday, November 19th, 2019

My betting strategy for tonight

One thing’s for sure – tonight’s debate will either confirm or raise doubts about Johnson’s chances of leading his party to an overall majority on December 12th. There will be a lot of betting on this market tonight.

The Tory record with debates is not that strong. Cameron was taken aback by Nick Clegg being deemed to “winner” of the first TV debate in April 2010 and this prompted the betting market to mark down sharply the chances of a Tory majority.

In 2015 the judgement on the night of a multi-party debate was split between Cameron and Miliband but the incumbent PM went onto to secure an overall majority something that came as a huge shock on the betting markets.

At GE2017 TMay decided that she wasn’t going to face Corbyn in a debate and this became a huge campaign issue in the closing days. Many suggested that her decision not to be there cost her party her majority. It is no doubt the memories of the last three general elections that have guided Johnson’s approach. Yes to TV debates against Corbyn but don’t risk involving the LD leader.

As the chart of the Betfair majority betting shows the Tories are in a commanding position and at a 66% betting chance only a touch down on this week’s peak.

I’ve decided to lay (bet against) a CON majority on this market. My reasoning is that a Johnson debate victory is almost priced in and if that’s what happens I’ll be able to get out at little cost. On the other hand what’s deemed a draw or a Corbyn victory could raise doubts about Johnson’s ability to secure a majority which will send the price down. If that is how it turns out I’ll be able to get out at a profit.

Mike Smithson


Why Johnson’s TV debate strategy could be a mistake

Monday, November 18th, 2019

Great thread from the New Stateman’s Stephen Bush


Farage looks set to lose his BBC Election Question Time slot following BP’s candidate withdrawal move

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

It is being reported in the Times and other papers that Farage could lose some of his key TV debate slots following his move to pull BP candidates in Tory seats.

Although Farage is not standing in the election and is not an MP he was allocated the same number of TV debate slots as Jo Swinson including the Question Time special when it was planned that he, Swinson, Corbyn and Johnson would be the line-up.

Farage had “earned” his slots as a result of his party’s performance in the Euro elections in May but that looks as though it is being reviewed because there will now only be BP candidates in non-CON held seats. Clearly moving from a leader who could theoretically win the election and become PM to one where that is no longer possible changes his status.

It could also impact on the number of party election broadcasts that BP is allocated.

One of the reasons why the main head to head events on both ITV and the BBC are restricted to just Corbyn and Johnson is that including Swinson would have made it harder not to have Farage as well. This is now being tested in the courts by the LDs

Meanwhile YouGov has changed its methodology so that the only option put to poll respondents will be those parties that are standing in their seats. This gives a boost to the Tories in the pollster’s latest survey for the Times.

Mike Smithson


YouGov boost for Swinson in the TV debates row

Monday, November 4th, 2019

By two to one those polled think she should attend

Further to this morning’s thread on the exclusion of LD leader Jo Swinson from the ITV General Election debate there’s now a YouGov poll carried out today that points to her desire to be there getting support from the public.

Clearly LD voters are most supportive of her presence as the chart shows but there’s strong backing from LAB voters as well and CON ones back her by a small margin.

Interestingly there’s something of a gender divide. Just 20% of women polled backed her exclusion compared with 33% of men.

From her perspective as a new leader seeking to establish herself then the row has been quite helpful getting her media coverage before the broadcasting neutrality rules kick in.

As I observed earlier I think that if she was invited Johnson would pull out.

Mike Smithson