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At GE2010 political gamblers and the bookies seriously understimated LAB

November 7th, 2013

Those who “bought” LAB seats made a packet

About once a month, it seems, like this morning I get called by a journalist who wants to know whether the general election betting prices reflect over-optimism by Tory supporters about their party’s projects. What had happened last time he asked?

The theory we have heard so many times before: Those with the money to risk on the spread betting markets are probably richer and, “therefore”, Tory

This prompted me to dig out some figures which appear in the chart above. These seem to give credence to the notion there’s a bias in the betting towards the Tories and against LAB.

Maybe. Maybe not but I’m not totally convinced. For five years earlier it was a different story. The spread markets as the polls opened had the Tories on 190 seats mid point. Michael Howard’s party secured 198.

At the 2001 election the spread markets, where the seats a party will get are traded like stocks and shares, overstated the Tories.

As to the current betting which suggests that the Tories have a 25‰ chance of an overall majority I think that there’s a large level of wishful thinking.

Mike Smithson

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