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Is Ming now a near certainty?

February 1st, 2006

    Best price tightens to 0.49/1

There’s been a further swing to Menzies Campbell in the Lib Dem leadership betting
overnight and the best you can now get is 0.49/1. With just a month until the result is known how good a bet is this? Do any of the other candidates stand a chance?

The last full leadership poll of party members took place while Charles Kennedy was still leader and was published only a few hours before the resignation was announced. Since then gamblers have had no hard information to steer them. We have all been flying blind.

For what it’s worth I have been trying to carry out my own soundings of people I know who are, like me, Lib Dem members. Given what I say about proper polls I should emphasise that this was totally unscientific – the main selection criteria was simply whether I knew them and they were happy to talk to me about their own voting intention and those of any others where they were certain what the member was going to do

On Sunday afternoon and Monday evening I got the opinions of 28 different members – all of whom it should be pointed out were over 40 living in southern England. At least two are regular contributors to PBC.

These were the numbers: Solid for Campbell 9: Solid for Hughes 6: Solid for Huhne 6: “Cannot decide between Huhne and Campbell” 7. Of the last category all but two had been Campbell supporters but were now contemplating a move in the younger man’s direction.

Second preferences could be important and not all had decided yet. The “Solid Campbell” group split 5-2 for Huhne; the “Solid Hughes” had 4 putting Huhne second and one had Campbell; all but one of the “Solid Huhne” voter would put Campbell second.

I did not ask but I assumed the “Cannot decide between Huhne and Campbell” would put whichever was the other as their second choice.

The members who had been most upset by the ousting of Charles Kennedy were, in the main, hostile to Campbell and to a lesser degree Huhne. Almost all the Huhne supporters conceded that their man still had work to do on his presentation skills.

Make of this what you will. From what I heard this is between Campbell and Huhne and the race is not over yet. I am glad that I am in a positive betting position on both of them.

Mike Smithson






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