Archive for October, 2005

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So how big will Dave’s victory be?

Monday, October 24th, 2005
    Can Cameron get more than 80% of the membership vote?

With Cameron looking an odds-on certainty to succeed Michael Howard there’s a new market on the share of the vote that he’ll get in the membership ballot.

Given that the current best conventional bookie price on him winning is 1/10 why not try a different bet where the returns could be higher. You can get an attractive price with Paddy Power’s what will Cameron’s vote share be” punt.

The prices are: Cameron share of 0-65% 2-1: 66-80% evens: more than 80% 5/2.

    In this market everything depends on how much weight you give to the YouGov polls of party members which have been appearing at regular intervals. The last had Cameron beating Davis by 72-22%.

The big judgement you have to make is whether the six week campaign is going to strengthen further the Cameron position or if Davis is going to eat into the total. This is a hard call but in the absence of any other evidence the 66-80% price of evens looks like a good bet.

With ballots due to be mailed from the end of next week it is reckoned that a large proportion of votes will be cast in the first period so campaigning activity towards the end might not have much of an impact on the outcome.

Mike Smithson



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Who’ll push PB.C past the 100,000 milestone?

Monday, October 24th, 2005
    Tory race helps push the site’s comments’ total into six figures

candAt some point in the next 24 hours somebody is going to post a comment on the site which will be the 100,000th since PB.C came into being in March 2004.

As of time of this article the total number stood at 99,679 so we are almost at the point where the total is in six figures. More than 92,000 of the postings have been made since the start of the year – 52,000 of them in the period since polls closed in the UK General Election at 10pm on May 5th.

    These are big figures and reflect the way that PB.C has become the site of choice for people of all party allegiances who want to read about and discuss political betting and political outcomes.

There’s little doubt that we’ve been helped by the enormous interest in the Tory leadership race which provided a focus in what could have been a quiet time after the May 5th General Election.

Meanwhile in a TV interview reported in the Guardian the close Davis aide, Derek Conway, accused David Cameron of “sucking up to the press” and thinking that “he was born to rule“. The BBC was attacked for “taking leave of its senses in its support” for Mr Cameron and newspapers were being “servile” towards him. Conway also attacked Michael Howard for dirty tricks against Davis.

Whether this will help Davis it is hard to see. The betting has remained pretty constant with the best bookie Cameron price of 1/10 and 0.17/1 available on the betting exchanges. You can get 11/2 against David Davis.

Labour leadership. As reported yesterday the Observer had a big story about a big rise in interest on David Miliband for the Labour leadership. We noted that on Betfair the total amount matched on Miliband since the market was established six months ago was £203. In spite of all the coverage not one extra penny has been matched on him on Betfair within the past 24 hours.

    Politicalbetting particularly welcomes contributions from people who have not posted before.

Mike Smithson



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Could the Tory race affect the Labour succession?

Sunday, October 23rd, 2005
    Brown’s price eases from 0.23/1 to o.4/1

As the chart shows the implied probability of Gordon Brown succeeding Tony Blair, based on the best betting price, has moved sharply since the high-spot of the Chancellor’s speech at the Brighton conference just a month ago.

Although this is a very light market with little liquidity it is clear that there the near certainty that last month’s 0.23/1 Brown price suggested has been affected by what has been going on in the Tory party and the prospect of a Cameron leadership.

The Observer’s chief political correspondent, Ned Temko, is reporting this morning that “…David Cameron’s emergence as favourite to win the Tory leadership raised fresh questions about Labour’s succession battle yesterday, with members of Tony Blair’s circle suggesting that Gordon Brown could have a tough time beating a much younger and more media-friendly foe.”

Temko goes on to note that the William Hill price against David Miliband as next Labour leader has been cut from 50/1 to 25/1. We think it is dangerous to attach too much significance to such a movement.

In very light markets it can be distorting to focus on the price from one bookmaker and you get a better picture if, as we do, you look at the best price that is available from a range of bookmakers and betting exchanges over a period.

The Betfair betting exchange has seen just £22,555 worth of matched bets in this market, more than 90% on Brown, of which a total of only £203 has been on Miliband. And although there has been a move to Miliband he is still not at the high point of 5/1 against being leader that he reached on that market in early June. That information would, perhaps, have taken the edge off the Temko report.

With many parts of the media now following PB.C in attaching importance to betting price changes it is important that it is done properly.


Mike Smithson



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ICM puts Brown’s Labour 5% ahead of Cameron’s Tories

Saturday, October 22nd, 2005
    But Cameron 15% ahead amongst “floating voters”

In spite of all the Tory publicity of recent weeks Labour is still on target for a comfortable fourth General Election victory according to ICM in the Guardian this morning – a view backed by the betting markets where Labour is the 0.63/1 favourite.
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  • The pollster’s October survey shows the party shares at CON 33: LAB 36: LD 22 – the Labour lead is down 4 points on the month
  • A Gordon Brown premiership was favoured by 43% compared with 38% for David Cameron
  • If it was Brown against Davis the split would be 45% to 32%.
  • Amongst “floating voters”, however, ICM found that Cameron would lead Brown by 48-33%.
  • In the leadership contest the Cameron-Davis split was 59-20% of those saying they were “certain to vote” Tory in the next General Election.
  • In the coming weeks we expect more polls like this and we might see surveys showing the Tories ahead on General Election voting intention. The issue will be whether this can be sustained.

    It is worth reminding ourselves that the developments in the Tory party have happened very quickly and we will get a clearer view of their impact in a week or so. Just fifteen days ago David Davis was still the favourite. Only three weeks ago the Cameron price on IG’s Binary bet market was 5-9.

    Best betting exchange prices; Cameron 0.17/1: Davis 5.4
    Best bookmaker prices; Cameron 1/10: Davis 11/2:
    IG’s Binary spread-market. Cameron 82-90: Davis 10-18

    ROUND 2 PREDICTION COMPETITION.
    Paul Maggs reports. Following the second MPs’ vote and the elimination of Liam Fox, there is a three-way tie between Gary Barford (post 1), Clarke Ken (10), and Alex Williams (35), all of whom were just 4 votes out overall. The next best predictions were from Alasdair (57) with 5 and James M (23) with 6.

    Adding together the results for rounds 1 and 2, the best combined score is Round 1 winner Stephen Thomas with 14, followed by Tabman and Ben with 16, and James M and Andrew M with 18.

    Mike Smithson



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    MORI: Brown’s lead would be 3% with Cameron and 7% with Davis

    Friday, October 21st, 2005

    vThe Mori polling organisation have just published details on their website of the Tory leadership poll that was featured in the Sun this morning.

    With a sample of just 508, compared with the normal 1000+, the survey has to be treated with a little bit of caution, but it does show Cameron having 33% support amongst the general public compared with 13% for David Davis and 11% for Liam Fox who was still in the race when the field-work was being carried out.

    If the next election saw a Cameron-led Tory party up against a Brown-led Labour then the split would be CON 36: LAB 39: LD 18. If Davis was leader the shares become CON 33: LAB 40: LD 19.

    A total of 79% disagreed with the suggestion that Cameron was “too young” to be PM while 74% did not think that being an Etonian would be an impediment.

    These are all very high figures and things could start to go wrong for Cameron if future polls started to show a decline. There are still six weeks to go.



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    Can Cameron make the polls move?

    Friday, October 21st, 2005
      How long has he got to prove he can make a difference?

    There is only one reason why Tory MPs and Tory members want David Cameron as their next leader – they believe that he can lead the party to greater electoral success than the alternative. They desperately want to return to power and the inexperienced and relatively unknown Cameron appears to offer this prospect more than David Davis.

      If Cameron is to lose the final ballot in the coming weeks it will be because the relative merits of him as an election winner compared with David Davis will have changed.

    And the first thing the new leader has got to be seen to do is get the Tory poll ratings up. These have been stuck at about the 30% level for nearly a decade and a half with the party apparently unable to re-connect with many of the the millions who returned it at the 1979, 1983, 1987 and 1992 General Elections.

    The challenge for a party leader is the relentless reminder at least four times every month of their party’s potential at a General Election from the new poll ratings that are published. And under new leadership they will be scrutinised even more – particularly in the early stages. There are four pollsters which carry out regular surveys and these were their latest figures – the starting point, if you like, for Cameron:

    Populus CON 30: LAB 40 LD 21
    YouGov CON 32: LAB 40 LD 20
    MORI CON 29: LAB 39 LD 25
    ICM CON 31: LAB 40 LD 21

    If the Tory poll rating stays stubbornly at about 30% then the Tories can be ruthless – as Mrs. Thatcher and IDS will testify.

    On the betting markets the Tory leadership developments have led to a slight move to the Tories on which party will win most seats at the next General Election. IG’s Binary spread-market now has the Tories at 36-42 (+2) against Labour‘s 58-64 (-2).

    Mike Smithson



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    Now it’s the battle of the Daves

    Thursday, October 20th, 2005

      Six months of betting – six weeks to go

    Three quarters of a way into the eight month battle for the Tory leadership it is now down to just two men – the two Daves – Cameron and Davis.

    On the betting markets there’s been a slight easing of the Cameron price and a tightening of the Davis price. Many punters had been piling into Cameron in the expectation that the contest might be over this weekend. Now the battle is going to carry on there a lot of position covering happening as punters try to get some cash back by laying Cameron.

    Now Davis is the only person left who can beat Cameron his price has tightened.

    Things should settle down in the coming days and we’ll all have to wait until December 6th for the final outcome.

    The chart shows the implied probability of the two men winning based on the best betting prices since the contest was called in early May.

    Best betting exchange prices; Cameron 0.12/1: Davis 7.2/1
    Best bookmaker prices; Cameron 1/12: Davis 6/1

    Mike Smithson



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    YouGov: Fox in second place amongst members

    Thursday, October 20th, 2005

      New poll blow to Team Davis
      Cameron tightens to 1/10 on Betfair

    lfWith the final MP ballot due to take place this afternoon a YouGov poll of Tory party members in the Telegraph this morning has Cameron 59%: Fox 18%: Davis 15%.

    This poll is taken very seriously because a similar survey ahead of the 2001 membership ballot predicted the final result to within one percent. Other findings:-

  • If the membership ballot was between Davis and Cameron the Shadow Education secretary would win by 72-22%.
  • If it was Cameron and Fox then the split would be 67-27%.
  • If the final was Fox and Davis then the Shadow Foreign Secretary would win by 48-39%
  • Half those members in the survey thought David Davis had been damaged by the drugs affair with 12% thinking that Cameron’s standing had been hurt most.
  • The poll shows a further move to Cameron since the last similar survey eleven days ago. Then the Cameron would beat Davis by 66-27%. In the summer Davis had a big lead amongst the membership.

    In the betting on who will be eliminated today Fox is 0.5/1 on the betting exchange and 4/6 with a conventional bookmaker. Davis has a 1.64/1 exchange price and is 11/10 bookmaker price.

    The suggestion that it might be all over tonight with the runner-up conceding has led to the Shadow Education Secretary’s price tightening even further. The idea that a bet today could see winnings tomorrow, even at 1/10, is appealing for punters wanting a quick and what they see as a sure return.

    Best betting exchange prices; Cameron 0.14/1: Davis 11/1: Fox 14.5/1
    Best bookmaker prices; Cameron 1/6: Davis 6/1: Fox 8/1
    IG’s Binary spread-market. Cameron 80-88: Davis 5-11

    Prediction Competition
    Paul Maggs writes: David Cameron is the clear leader with all but two competitors saying he will win, and with an average score of 93.0 votes. However, the other two contenders are almost dead level, with Liam Fox on an average score of 52.8 votes, and David Davis averaging 52.2. Even if we add all the predictions together, Fox has a lead of just 29 votes, out of nearly 5,500 for the Fox and Davis predictions combined. Davis predictions split 25-25 between second and third place, with 27-24 for Fox.

    Mike Smithson