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Punters getting nervous about a Labour 4th term

October 28th, 2005
    Chances rated at lowest level since the General Election

After a week which has seen highly publicised cabinet splits over education policy and smoking and a month that has been dominated by the Tory leadership race there’s been a move against Labour on the betting markets.

The chart shows the implied probability of Labour winning most seats at the next General Election based on best betting prices. A month ago Labour was rated at 66-67% – this morning the figure is down to less than 59% – the lowest point it has been since the General Election.

Labour is still the over-whelming favourite but there has been a shift because there is little support for Labour at the price levels we have seen.

    This is being driven by two elements. The first began in the days after the Tory conference as punters assessed the likely impact of a Cameron victory – the second has been in the past week with all the reports of Cabinet splits.

Normally the “who will win most seats” General election market is driven by opinion poll ratings and the latest, last week from ICM, had Labour three points ahead. Even if the next election ended with both parties level on votes Labour would have a very comfortable margin on seats.

The Cantor Spreadfair spread betting exchange has the following election spreads: LAB 308-314: CON 248-249: LD 59-62 Commons seats.

In the next few days we should see the October YouGov survey and November’s Populus poll in the Times. Solid Labour leads in both should ease the jitters. If the Tories are closing the gap then there’ll be further moves in the betting.

Mike Smithson






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