Archive for March, 2008

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Will we ever learn to love the Tories?

Friday, March 28th, 2008

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    Look at the “Dismayed – Delighted” figures

There’s now the full detail from this morning’s YouGov poll and I have extracted the above responses which I find interesting.

Thus on the forced choice question Cameron now has a comfortable lead and the Lib Dem supporters questioned are almost neck and neck.

The next question “Suppose a Conservative Government were formed under David Cameron which of these three statements would come nearest your own reaction?” provides a note of warning to the Tories. The 22% – 32% “delighted-dismayed” split is not that encouraging. Notice that only three out of five Tory voters put themselves in the delighted category.

The final one of the three “Which party do you think is more likely to run Britain’s economy well – the Conservatives or the Labour Party?” is now showing a distinct Tory margin and might be a good pointer.

The spread markets have reacted to the poll with a three seat jump in the Tory position.

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There will be no Sean Fear slot today. He is otherwise engaged.

Mike Smithson



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YouGov has Labour still below 30%

Friday, March 28th, 2008

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    New poll suggests that Cameron is heading for a 100 seat majority

The above graphic, reproduced from the seat calculator on Anthony Wells’s UK Polling Report site, shows what happens when you key in the projected vote shares from today’s March YouGov survey for the Daily Telegraph.

The survey paints the same broad picture that we’ve seen in all the post-budget polls – very bad news for Labour.

When nearly a fortnight ago poll by the firm for the Sunday Times had Labour on 27% trailing a massive sixteen points behind the Tories there was a widespread assumption that this was a rogue or an outlier. This view changed a couple of days later when ICM in the Guardian put Cameron’s party on 42% with a thirteen point lead on Labour.

Today in the first post-Easter poll there has been a small improvement for Brown’s party but they are still below 30% and the Tories are maintaining their 43% share. These are the figures with comparisons on the last survey from the firm: CON 43% (nc): LAB 29% (+2): LD 17% (+1)

To YouGov’s regular forced choice question of whether respondents would prefer a Labour government under Brown or a Tory one under Cameron the split was 47% – 35% in the Tories favour. This is the highest level it has been for Cameron.

All of this adds credence to the view that there has been step change in public opinion during March. Something happened with the budget to affect the overall view of Labour.

Unlike with the Sunday Times which permits the simultaneous publication of the detailed data alongside the poll itself we will probably have to wait until after the weekend before we see elements like the regional spreads and age distributions. What could be central here is the break down of the London data which might give a further pointer to the Mayoral election – less than four weeks off.

The Telegraph is leading on the poll which could influence punters on the commons seat spread markets. The overnight figures from Sporting Index show a massive variation from the Anthony Wells projections. The firm has CON 308-314: LAB 262-268: LD 44-47 seats. My guess is that there will be a movement upwards in the Tory spread – a few notches closer to the 325 level which in a general election would see Cameron securing a majority.

Other General Election betting is here.

Mike Smithson

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Time Magazine floats Gore-Obama

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

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    Could this be a serious proposition?

The author of the classic White House Race Novel, Primary Colours, Joe Klein, has floated the idea of a Gore-Obama ticket in the latest edition of Time magazine.

This is from Klein’s piece: “..But let’s play a little. Let’s say the elders of the Democratic Party decide, when the primaries end, that neither Obama nor Clinton is viable. Let’s also assume—and this may be a real stretch—that such elders are strong and smart enough to act. All they’d have to do would be to convince a significant fraction of their superdelegate friends, maybe fewer than 100, to announce that they were taking a pass on the first ballot at the Denver convention, which would deny the 2,025 votes necessary to Obama or Clinton. What if they then approached Gore and asked him to be the nominee, for the good of the party—and suggested that he take Obama as his running mate? Of course, Obama would have to be a party to the deal and bring his 1,900 or so delegates along.

I played out that scenario with about a dozen prominent Democrats recently, from various sectors of the party, including both Obama and Clinton partisans. Most said it was extremely unlikely … and a pretty interesting idea. A prominent fund raiser told me, “Gore-Obama is the ticket a lot of people wanted in the first place.” A congressional Democrat told me, “This could be our way out of a mess.” Others suggested Gore was painfully aware of his limitations as a candidate. “I don’t know that he’d be interested, even if you handed it to him,” said a Gore friend. Chances are, no one will hand it to him. The Democratic Party would have to be monumentally desperate come June. And yet … is this scenario any more preposterous than the one that gave John McCain the Republican nomination? Yes, it’s silly season. But this has been an exceptionally “silly” year. “

Latest nomination betting is here. Gore is currently 41/1 with Betfair.

Mike Smithson



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Introducing the man Gord expects to be Mayor

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

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    Should your betting be following the Prime Minister?

With just five weeks to go before five million Londoners vote on their Mayor there’s a report in the Times this morning that is hardly going to improve relations between the government and City Hall. Under the heading “Gordon Brown deserts Ken Livingstone..” the paper reports that the PM has “… all but written off Ken Livingstone’s chances of winning the London mayoral election, according to close allies.”

Brown, it is noted pointedly, will be visiting the US next month as the fight for City Hall reaches its climax.

The report goes on: “..Some Brown allies are already consoling themselves that a Johnson victory “would be a disaster” for Mr Cameron. Others, including senior Cabinet supporters, fear that a Johnson mayoralty would hand the Tories a prize platform for building bridges with the business community in the City.”

Certainly it’s the case that Brown and Livingstone have never been the best of friends but such a note of no confidence from Number 10 as the campaign just starts to open up is quite surprising. Negative comments ahead of an election should not be coming out like this. If Ken does, against the odds, make it then relations between the two men are going to be even colder.

The Times report is not going to go down well with the wider Labour movement as Ken faces his biggest challenge.

The betting, meanwhile, continues to move from Ken who is now getting close to the 2/1 level.


Mike Smithson

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Could the Clinton tax return be the next in line?

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

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    Is PaddyPower’s 4/1 a good value bet?

This PaddyPower market on the next scandal to hit one of the presidential contenders has been around for some time but we have not focused on it before. Although quite fun I don’t like this sort of wager because of the lack of definition in working out what will trigger settlement.

But looking at the list we do know of one thing that will be happening very soon – the release of the Clinton tax returns – something that’s become more of an issue following Obama’s move yesterday to make public all his tax records going back to 2000.

Could fine scrutiny of the document by the media produce a “tax irregularity” scandal that would cause Paddy Power to pay out? That’s hard to judge but it might be worth a small punt.


Mike Smithson



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Will Cameron join the expenses bandwagon at PMQs?

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

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    Did you get a bet on in the new PMQs market?

With the two tabloids that are reckoned to have the most impact on public opinion, the Mail and the Sun, leading on the legal bid by the Speaker to stop MPs expenses being made public could David Cameron be considering this as his first line of attack at PMQs this lunchtime?

    The Tory leader has never been known to be shy when it comes to issues raised by the tabloids and it would certainly fit in with his attempts to be a populist on the issue of what MPs claim. Last month to groans from all sides of the house he was calling at PMQs for the abolition of final salary pension schemes for new MPs.

The legal move followed a decision a few hours earlier by the information tribunal ordering that data about the housing allowances paid to 14 specific MPs, including Gordon Brown and David Cameron, be published this week. Among the other politicians included in the group are John Prescott, George Osborne, and Ming Campbell.

In what seemed like an advance move to put Brown under pressure the Telegraph is reporting that “Mr Cameron’s aides disclosed that of the £21,359 he claimed in 2005-06 more than £21,200 was for the mortgage interest paid on his constituency home in Witney, Oxfordshire. He is thought to have claimed less than £100 on utility bills and nothing on household furnishings or groceries.”

All this comes after the new betting market on Cameron’s first topic at PMQs appeared to have really taken off with hundreds of wagers being placed following the story here yesterday afternoon.

It would be interesting to know if Brown and Cameron are following this market. My guess is that their offices certainly are.


Mike Smithson



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Is the heat now on Hillary?

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

The story of Hillary’s version of a visit to Bosnia in 1996 and how she has been describing it has developed into the big story in the nomination race over the past couple of days. The CBS report above sums it up well interspersing footage taken at the time with what she said last week.

The reference to Bosnia arose as part of her case that she has experience.

For the moment this moves the story on from Obama’s Pastor to what Clinton’s spinners are describing as a “misspoke”.

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Mike Smithson



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What will Cameron go for tomorrow?

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

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    Where’s the value in Ladbroke’s new market?

Ladbrokes are sticking with the innovative new betting market on what Cameron’s first question will be at PMQs tomorrow. Reproduced above are the latest prices.

My favourites are something to do with the London Mayoral election or a follow-up to Brown U-turn on the embryo bill free vote.

Mike Smithson