Archive for the 'Betting' Category

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64 LAB peers pay for Guardian ad to tell Corbyn that he fails the test of leadership

Wednesday, July 17th, 2019

Time to bet on him not surviving 2019?

The wording of the ad above is powerful and will get a lot of attention but the question is how will it impact on the future of the Labour leader who won the job convincingly in the 2015 leadership election and retained it a year later.

The wording is quite smart because it does not accuse him of being antisemitic but questions whether his approach to the crisis that has engulfed the party for 4 years is down to his failure as leader.

It comes at a time when there is a real possibility of an early general election and, of course, we’re now in the run up to the Party Conference season. My guess is the peers are trying to exert the maximum pressure on him to step aside and make way for someone else.

One of the things about members of The House of Lords is that there is no way that the party machine can touch them. They are there for life or until such time as they decide themselves not to be active members of the upper house.

This must put Corbyn’s future into serious doubt as he did appear to be the most secure of all the party leaders because of the view that he continues to have widespread backing amongst the party membership.

In recent months Corbyn’s leadership ratings have dropped substantially and in the latest Ipsos Mori polling 75% of those sampled said they were dissatisfied with his leadership. This is the highest negative ever recorded of any opposition leader and suggests that he is a an electoral liability. Even most LAB voters in the polling say they they are dissatisfied.

On Betfair it is a 29% chance that Corbyn will leave the leadership this year. That might be worth a punt. Currently Rebecca Long-Bailey is the favourite to succeed him.

Mike Smithson


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The catch. Why Boris Johnson probably won’t be going for an early general election

Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

Bet against an early general election. Boris Johnson has ruled it out. As he is Britain’s presumed Prime Minister, we can take him at his word. And here’s why.

Let’s look at the counter-argument first. You will not lack for Leavers arguing that Boris Johnson should force an election as soon as possible. Parliament, they argue, is blocking Brexit. So Boris Johnson should call an election to obtain a mandate for leaving, deal or no deal, by 31 October 2019. The opposition could not sensibly oppose one. By this means, Nigel Farage would be put back in his crypt and with the opposition divided, the Conservatives could sweep to power.

You can see the appeal of the idea. There’s only one problem. It doesn’t work.

There are two ways in which a general election can be called under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act 2011. First, two thirds of the House of Commons can vote for one. Or secondly, if the government loses a vote of no confidence and 14 day elapses without a new government having a vote of confidence passed in it, a general election is automatically held.

Let’s look at the direct vote first. To get to two thirds, Boris Johnson needs to get Jeremy Corbyn on board (there is no route to a two thirds majority that does not have both Labour and the Conservatives voting for the proposition).  On the face of it, that shouldn’t be too difficult: Jeremy Corbyn has been calling for an election and after the 2017 campaign no doubt fancies his chances of recreating Corbynmania.  

But Jeremy Corbyn has no reason to play on Boris Johnson’s terms, not when he can hamstring his opponent. Boris Johnson has tied his credibility to securing Brexit by 31 October 2019. This is not a deadline that Labour recognise and nor do they need to agree to it now. The clock is ticking and Labour can reasonably argue that they do not want a general election to eat into the very limited negotiating time.

In short, they can properly insist, before agreeing to an early election, on the government negotiating an extension of the Article 50 deadline to, say, 31 December 2019 so that when they come to power they have sufficient time to reach their own terms with the EU.

This is not just reasonable as a matter of principle, it’s also superb politics.  For if the Article 50 deadline is extended beyond 31 October 2019, that part of the Conservative party that has Boris Johnson on probation will decamp en masse to the Brexit party. The new Prime Minister’s credibility on his central policy would be destroyed. As Leader of the Opposition, that makes for an appealing backdrop to a general election.

Of course, once you’ve announced that you want a general election, if your opponent agrees to the principle but sets a preliminary condition that is not obviously absurd, you’re a bit stuck. So Boris Johnson would be taking a huge risk that he would be walking into a fiasco.

Whenever a politician puts a sign on his back saying “kick me”, his opponents will queue up to oblige. Seeking to call an election on your flagship policy while giving your opponents the opportunity to destroy it would risk getting the Johnson posterior booted so hard that he would clear the crossbar at Twickenham. There’s the chance that Labour might take a different approach, but would you draw up your strategy on the basis that your opponents will be as accommodating as possible?

This problem also potentially applies to arranging an election by a vote of no confidence, but there is a further problem with a vote of no confidence that should also concern Boris Johnson. In the 14 day countdown, someone else may be able to put together a majority. Given that the whole basis of seeking an election is that the government does not reliably control the House of Commons, that is quite conceivable.  

So a general election brought about by intentional acts before 31 October 2019 looks unlikely. While an election could be called immediately after that date, no one is going to thank the Government for a Christmas general election.  All this means that betting against a general election in 2019 at the current odds on Betfair of 2.36 (11/8) looks like a smart move. I’m on.

Alastair Meeks




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Punters continue to rate Trump as having a near 50% chance of winning a second term

Monday, July 15th, 2019


Betdata.io chart of Betfair exchange

The polls, though, have the top 4 Democrats beating him

We’ve not looked at the main WH2020 market for some time – who’ll win the next hear’s White House race and as the chart shows what movement there’s been on the Betfair exchange has been towards the controversial incumbent.

At the moment, of course, the Democrats are maybe a year away from deciding who their nominee shall be and it is only when that becomes clear that we will get a greater take.

New NBC/WSJ polling has the following match ups:

Biden 51, Trump 42
Warren 48, Trump 43
Sanders 50, Trump 43
Harris 45, Trump 44

The interesting thing in the polling is the continued rise of Senator Elizabeth Warren who raised nearly $20m in the past quarter. It feels that there’s real momentum with her campaign.

In two weeks we’ll see the next TV debate where Biden has got to do substantially better than last time when he really did look his age.

I remain convinced that the 76 and 77 old Biden and Sanders won’t get the nomination and that their current polling positions are based on higher name recognition. Sanders has been hurt most by the rise of Warren.

In all of this the Democrats desperately want to stop a second Trump term and who is seen best able to achieve that will likely get the nomination.

Mike Smithson




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The next Home Secretary betting

Sunday, July 14th, 2019

Within a fortnight we should have a new Home Secretary.

When Boris Johnson becomes Prime Minister it is widely expected that his Chancellor will be Sajid Javid which creates a vacancy at the Home Office. So who will succeed Javid?

I’m also working on assumption that Jeremy Hunt will remain Foreign Secretary under Boris Johnson, he views any other cabinet job, other than Chancellor of the Exchequer as a demotion so he’d retire to the backbenches.

Boris Johnson will not want more members of the Gaukeward squad on the backbenches to join the likes of Philip Hammond, David Gauke, Rory Stewart, David Lidington, Greg Clark, and of course, primus inter pares, Theresa May who I suspect are implacably intent on delivering on Vote Leave’s campaign pledge of not leaving without a deal. When you have a notional majority of three thanks to the DUP Prime Minister Johnson cannot annoy anyone further.

I’m tempted by the 20/1 on Tracy Crouch. I think Boris Johnson would like to fight back against the nasty party meme and who better than the woman who resigned over the government’s initial vacillation on reducing the stake for fixed odds betting terminals.  It would send a great message for those who would like the Tory party to focus on non Brexit related topics.

As sports minister, and in other roles, she’s always been a good media performer which would help the government sell its policies to the country. As someone who read law she’d be eminently qualified to take on the challenging role of Home Secretary. It would also reassure the Boris sceptic wing of the party that he had appointed a self confessed ‘compassionate, One-Nation Conservative’ to such a senior role. Having eventually backed Boris Johnson in the leadership contest should her get a decent role in government.

I’m fond of this market after tipping Sajid Javid at 33/1 to succeed Amber Rudd just hours before he became Home Secretary but this I’m not quite as confident so will be betting at lower stakes than I did in April 2018. It is entirely possible Javid remains Home Secretary but I do expect Boris Johnson to make comprehensive changes to the cabinet upon his election, this will not be like the relatively minor changes when John Major succeeded Margaret Thatcher.

TSE



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And now the Tory Brecon bar chart to try to beat off the Brexit party

Friday, July 12th, 2019


From a Tory campaign AD Brecon & Radnorshire by-election

Boris’s first electoral test – getting more by-election votes than Farage

It might be a too big an ask to expect the Tories to retain the Brecon and Radnorshire seat where the by-election takes place on August 1st but the party would dearly love to win more votes than Farage’s Brexit Party.

The circumstances, the fact that their candidate is the former MP who was deprived of his seat following the successful recall petition after his criminal conviction for expenses fraud is not a good starting point.

On top of that the many sheep farmers in this huge constituency who rely on exports to Europe are not enamored by the prospect of a no deal Brexit which would mean that their products would have a 40% tariff placed on them. Their livelihoods and those in the constituency who rely on the sheep trade are at stake.

The main opposition and 1/5 odds-on favourites to retake the seat lost at GE2015, the Liberal Democrats, are the only remain party in the race following agreements with the Greens and PC applied not to field candidates.

Such tight odds have not made the by-election overall winner an attractive betting market though there is now a another option from Ladbrokes which looks extremely interesting. Which of the Conservatives and the Brexit Party party will win most votes?

Currently the bookie makes it 1/2 for the Tory and 6/4 for Farage’s party. Given how well the latter did in Peterborough a few weeks ago coming with in a few hundred votes of beating Labour then the 6/4 looks attractive.

The one thing that could change that, of course, is that by August 1st there will be a new Conservative leader, most likely Boris Johnson, and my guess is that the expectation that he will give a boost to the Tories is priced into those odds.

Failing to beat the Tory vote total here would severely blunt the momentum that Farage has built up for his party since the successes in the May euro elections.

The Tory battle to recover the ground taken by Farage is the first electoral battle for the new leader.

Mike Smithson


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In spite of all the uncertainty a 2019 general election is still less than a 50% chance in the betting

Tuesday, July 9th, 2019


Betdata.io chart of movements on Betfair Exchange

Will Boris be tempted?

Last night’s ComRes poll suggesting that the Tories under Johnson could secure a 40 seat majority raises the question once again of whether the new leader would risk going to the country soon after taking over the leadership.

The reasons are powerful. The need to get Brexit through by the end of October and, of course, a desire to underpin the perceived democratic legitimacy of his position. Johnson would be the first PM ever to have got the job as a result of a ballot restricted to his party’s membership.

There’s also the huge issue over Commons numbers as he tries to further the Brexit process. He looks set to be in an even worse parliamentary position than TMay with the likely loss in the Brecon by-election and the real possibility of some Tory MPs refusing to back him in a confidence vote.

Labour, still plagued by the lack of resolution over the charges of antisemitism and the ongoing divide over Brexit, might be an easier foe in September of October than Corbyn’s party was in June 2017.

As can be seen from the chart the betting chances of a 2019 election slipped markedly after reaching a peak in late March. The trend is moving upwards but it is still only a 43% chance.

But after working so hard to become leader and PM would Johnson dare risk it all by going to the country early. TMay’s GE2017 experience still casts a shadow over the party.

One way the next election might be unlike other recent contests is that the pro-Remain parties could get their act together and agree just one contender in each constituency as is happening at the Brecon by-election. The most accurate pollsters from last May have a GRN plus LD aggregate approaching 30% which could put a pact in a powerful position.

Mike Smithson


 

 



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A 16/1 tip to start off your Sunday morning

Sunday, July 7th, 2019

Graphics: top one is from Paddy Power, the bottom one is from Ladbrokes

Why I’m backing Boris Johnson to receive between 80% to 89.99% of the vote.

If the YouGov polling is accurate then Boris Johnson is going to win a landslide in the leadership contest, yesterday’s poll had him winning 74% to 26%.

My view is that polling for these leadership elections is a lot easier for YouGov than most of the other political polling they carry out. The electorate for leadership elections are much more homogenous and smaller than for national elections. With only two candidates there’s less need for adjustment for things like tactical voting. YouGov’s very large panel has managed to get the 2005 Tory leadership contest right, as they did more recently with Labour’s leadership elections in 2015 and 2017.

With most of the ballot papers being sent back I think the result has been already decided so it only takes a little bit of overperformance by Boris Johnson and a little bit of underperformance by Jeremy Hunt coupled with a minor sampling error for Boris Johnson to receive 80% to 89.99% of the vote which makes the 16/1 Paddy Power offer very attractive.

The only thing that might make me nervous is if Boris Johnson starts tacking away from the Jonestown Brexit at all costs wing of Tory membership. His comments over the weekend might see a few Tory members who prioritise Brexit over the Union decide Boris Johnson isn’t the man for them.

TSE



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Johnson looks a certainty as YouGov CON members’ poll has him leading 74-26

Friday, July 5th, 2019

Get ready for PM Johnson

One thing that we’ve learned over the last two decades is that we can rely of YouGov CON members’ polling to give a pretty accurate picture of the outcome of a leadership ballot. Before IDS and Cameron’s victories in the postal ballots the firm had the final outcomes to within a point both times.

So tonight’s news in the Times that Johnson is ahead by 74-26 leaves us in little doubt about the outcome. That margin is overwhelming.

A new question might be whether he actually gets the keys of Number 10 if his election actually leads to a few prominent CON MPs quitting the party and threatening to vote against him in a Commons no confidence move.

The betting is swinging even further to the ex-Mayor.

Mike Smithson