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Monday Call – July 26 2004

July 26th, 2004

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    Populus poll means – “Lib Dems four seats off being official opposition: Labour losing majority”

Apart from a marking down of the Lib Dems the betting markets have hardly reacted to yesterday’s sensational Populus poll in the News of the World which when translated into seats means that Labour would not have an overall majority in the House of Commons and the Lib Dems would be just four seats short of being the official opposition. The figures with changes on the last Populus poll three weeks ago are:-

LAB 30 (-3): CON 28 (-1): LIBD 28 (+4)

Putting these figures into Martin Baxter’s election predictor we get the following Westminster seat distribution based on applying the partys’ poll shares on a uniform national swing:-

LAB 323 seats : CON 147 seats : LIBD 144 seats: OTH 32 seats

  • For Labour this poll is a disaster. Today’s papers have reported it solely in terms of its impact on the Tories. They all seem to be ignoring that by far and away the biggest loser is Labour, with three times the Tory drop, and is Labour’s worst rating for a generation.
  • For the Tories it’s bad – down one percent to its worst rating in two and a half years although the impact on seats would be minimal
  • For the Lib Dems it equals their record poll figure just after Brent East last Septenber and they would be four MPs short of being the official opposition. The question is can this level be sustained or is the poll just a post by-election bounce?
  • But before we get too carried away we need to see other similar trends from other pollsters. The next, is likely on Friday from YouGov – the internet pollster which has in recent months shown the Lib Dems to be on lower levels than the other firms.

    If the Lib Dems can sustain this and go into the election campaign almost level pegging it takes away the big argument that they always find (see picture above) – that a vote for them is a wasted vote and could pick up large number of ex-Labour voters disillusioned over the war and other measures. In that situation anything could be possible.

      For there’s been a seismic change in the Lib Dem poll position in relation to Labour compared with this stage last time. In the final half of 2000 Mori had the party at an average of 38% behind Labour while the figure for ICM was 30%.

    While all the focus has been on the Tories inability to capitalise on the Government’s difficulties support for the Lib Dems has been surging and it does not take much of a shift for whole new scenarios to be created.

    OUR MAIN CALLS

  • General Election – party winning most seats. Just a month ago we advised backing Labour for the General Election at the then price of 2/5. Now the best price is 2/7. We stick with our call but to cover yourself against the “seismic shift” scenario at almost no extra cost then lay the Conservatives on the betting exchange market rather than back Labour directly. The Lib Dems, meanwhile have been marked down form a best of 66/1 yesterday to 50/1 today.
  • Total Lib Dem seats – link. In our Monday Call just four weeks ago we said back the Lib Dems to get 61 seats or more at 12/5 with Bet365. That’s now down to 4/7. This is still good value.
  • Spread Markets – BUY Lib Dems SELL Labour. Six weeks ago we said BUY the Lib Dems when the price was 53-58. It’s now 62-66 and still good value. The Labour sell price of 346 is well above the latest seat prediction. Both the Lib Dems and the Labour price should respond to the Populus Poll.
  • White House Race- BACK Kerry. We made our BACK KERRY call in May when you could still get 11/10 or better. Now you are hard-pressed to find evens. It will tighten this week during the Boston Convention and we stick with our call.





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