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At this stage in 2010 bullish punters pushed the betting to a CON majority of 36 completely in defiance of the polling

February 14th, 2015

Are CON punters being grossly optimistic yet again?

Last night John Rentoul asked me what had happened in the betting at this stage of the 2010 campaign and I dug up the above – an index that I created and reported regularly on here based on the spread betting and Betfair line prices.

At this stage in the last campaign the Tories had begun to falter in the polls and the established firms had them with leads of 5-7% which pointed to them winning most seats but some way back from an overall majority. This was indeed what happened.

    Yet the polling did not arrest the what turned out to be the grossly over-confident blue mood on the betting markets as the above PB Index shows. The money was piling on an overall majority in spite of the ample polling evidence that this wasn’t going to happen.

I think that that is repeating itself now. The betting is strongly suggesting that the Tories will win most seats even though the polls are showing small but consistent LAB leads

Apart from the Ashcroft weekly poll, which hasn’t had Miliband’s party ahead this year, there’s a pretty consistent pattern from the others. Even with LAB’s Scottish problems they’ve got at least a 50-50 chance of beating the Tories on seats.

It appears that the mood is driven by a rock solid conviction that when voters are presented with the possibility of Ed Miliband becoming PM they will shy away.

Maybe they will but there’s nothing in the polling to support that at the moment. I was struck by yesterday’s ComRes finding that just 12% said that the key factor in voting choice is which party leader will make best PM.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble