Why do Labour supporters still go 2-1 for Tony?

Why do Labour supporters still go 2-1 for Tony?

    The betting markets move to a later departure date

With Tony Blair preparing for his final Labour conference as party leader there was a nugget of good news for him in the detailed data, now available, from the latest ICM poll. For when asked “Who do you think will make a better Prime Minister, Gordon Brown or Tony Blair?” the poll came out 40-30% for Tony.

    But even more significantly the declared Labour supporters in the sample went 61% for Blair against 29% for Brown – an apparent overwhelming endorsement from those who just vote for the party rather than the activists who are more hostile to their leader

What this suggests is that there’s a gulf in the view of Blair between ordinary supporters, who remain largely loyal, and the activists, councillors and members of the Scottish and Welsh parliaments who are fearful of losing their seats and salaries in next May’s elections.

I know that similar questions feature largely in the plethora of polls that we’ll see in the days leading up to next week’s Manchester party conference and all this might have an impact on the final leaving date. It will certainly make Blair’s farewell a touch easier.

There’s also the possibility that such poll findings will take away some of the pressure for a much earlier departure date than had been planned. This has been reflected in the latest betting. The Q4 2006 price is now out to 7.2/1 while Q2 2007 is at 1.56/1.

The Cantor Spreadfair on how many weeks Blair’s third term will continue for has moved to 97.5 – 103 weeks. This means that a BUY bet will come into profit at the end of April, four weeks later than the price we recorded here on Monday.

Spreadfair make clear that “If Tony Blair announces his resignation for a date in the future, but carries on as Prime Minister in the interim, then the market will be settled on his actual final day as Prime Minister, not the time of the announcement.” The weeks started on May 9 2005 and if the leaving date is on a Monday then the whole of that week would count in settling the bet.

Mike Smithson

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