Populus – Labour in third place nationally
A series of bad national opinion surveys for Labour in the Sunday papers have transformed the betting for Thursday’s by-election in Hartlepool to elect a replacement for Peter Mandelson who has quit Westminster to become a Euro Commissioner.
Yesterday morning we were suggesting that the 4/1 then available on the Lib Dems on the betting exchanges was “tempting”. As of the time of posting that price has tightened to 8/5. So yesterday a winning bet would have produced a return of £200 – now that’s down to £80. The Labour price, meanwhile, has gone from about 1/5 to 2/5. NOTE: On the exchanges we quote the last price that has been matched – not the prices that are being offered.
Two of of this morning’s polls have the Tories in the lead and one of them has Labour in third place for the first time in twenty years.
CON 32%: LIBD 29%: LAB 28% Populus – News of the World
CON 33%: LAB 32%: LIBD 25% Mori – Observer
A third poll by a pollster new to us, Communicate Research, is in the Indy on Sunday. Interviewing took place the day before and the day of Kennedy’s speech and so was earlier than the other two. The shares were:-
CON 30%, LAB 32%, LD 27%
The Lib Dems usually enjoy a poll boost after their conference and in the September YouGov and ICM polls a few days ago, before Bournemouth could have its full impact, Labour was on 36% in each with the Tories on 34% and 32% and the Lib Dems at 21% and 22%.
UK politics at the moment is characterised by the Tories remaining static and a block of 6-7% that’s very volatile and oscillates between the LDs and Labour. This group will decide the election.
An indication of the scale of the challenge facing the opposition parties is that if the country voted according to the Populus Poll Labour would be third in terms of vote share but, according to the swing calculators, top on seats. site produces the following breakdown:-
LAB 276: CON 259: LIB 80 seats
But beware claculations like this or the one in today’s Observer. They assume a uniform national swing and could be upset by an unwind of some of the tactical voting that helped Tony Blair to his landlsides in 1997 and 2001. Shrewd gamblers who understand this are going ot make a lot of money at the General Election.
The General Election markets on which party gets most seats remain unchanged with Labour 1/4 favourite. We expect this to be eased in the coming days.
We also expect moves against Labour on the spread betting markets where the current prices are:-
LAB 342-350 seats: CON 212-220: LIBD 67-71
We have been saying for months that Labour is over-priced and the Lib Dems under-priced.