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Pulpstar says the Tories look value at 13-8 in the Lewisham match bet

May 23rd, 2018

The by-election in Lewisham East is attracting a lot of attention on twitter for Labour’s woes in candidate selection, and also some unfortunate tweets by the CLP chair dug up by Owen Jones.

How much attention will the average voter there pay to this ? Very little is the runaway favourite – even if it has made front page news for the Daily Osborne. Nevertheless a thoroughly uncompetitive by-election (Labour will walk it easily) needs an angle, and so Labour woes it is.

Ladbrokes have gone 13-10 the Tories and 4-7 the yellow peril in a match bet (Note not for second although realistically it is almost inconceivable someone other than these parties will finish second). I’d venture these odds are the wrong way round or at least the Lib Dems should be bigger than Even money here.

Why ?

1a) The three most recent elections (2015, 2017, 2018 locals) have all produced Conservative victories over the Lib Dems. True the 2010 result did produce a 1900 margin for the Lib Dems over the Tories, but the blues finished only 13.1% of the yellows nationally in that one. Currently that ‘gap’ is more like 30% or so.   

1b) Looking at the most recent locals the Tories managed 13,840 votes compared to the Lib Dems 9,222. I’m not sure what, if anything has particularly changed since then – indeed the local election results were encouraging for the Lib Dems not a million miles from the seat in Muswell Hill. My point is these results on their own make the Tories favourite in a match bet.

2) Vauxhall – A bit of a strange choice to emphasise a point about Lewisham East one might think but in the 2017 GE May on a very Brexity pitch managed to finish 1029 votes behind the Lib Dems in another seat where Labour are absolubtely dominant. According to Hanretty, Lewisham East voted approximately 35% leave, as opposed to Vauxhall’s 17%. The remain pool (Which is a pool fished heavily by the Lib Dems) is considerably smaller here than there. And that was just under a year after Hoey appeared on a boat with Farage*

3)  The consistency of the Tory vote from 97 onward here. From 92 to 97 the Tory vote collapsed from 18,481 to 9,694 votes. However since then the scores attained:

9694; 7157; 7512; 9850; 9574; 10859 (Note this is the most recent)

would have beaten the Lib Dems in every contest bar 2010 (See point 1a). Incidentally the shear uniformity of these results is why they don’t have a cat’s chance in hell of winning and arguably you can make the Lib Dems second favourites for the seat.

But what about Richmond, Twickenham and Surbiton ? I’d argue these are very different places and contests. The incumbents here are Labour, not the Tories and this seat does not play nearly as much to the Lib Dem’s strengths – it is not an ultra remain seat, more diverse and not as middle class or rich as SW London to be blunt.

Of course there will be a good deal of local news that ‘Only the Lib Dems can beat the Tories here’ and that is probably true (The potential Lib Dem -> Labour switcher pool) is greater than the Tories immutable pool. The local Lib Dem campaigning machine may well be superior (I have no particular knowledge though) and certainly Vince Cable has a greater need to show he is competitive in this sort of seat than Theresa May does at the moment.

The Lib Dems may well do it, but for this particular match bet, bet against exceptionalism and take the 13-10 (At last check) on the Tories.

Pulpstar

* My analysis indicates that AN Other Labour MP would have got over 40,000 votes in Vauxhall, so her massively pro Brexit views did affect her, but they were never going to lose her the seat. The ‘missing’ votes from Hoey’s should have been 40k pile to her actual one went to George Young.