So what does it mean for the General Election?

So what does it mean for the General Election?

    With maybe three years to go the Commons majority markets open

So we’ve ended conference season and we’ve now got a clearer idea about how all three main parties will tackle the coming months. But what’s this all going to mean in General Election terms? Do we have any greater feeling about the outcome?

    The challenge is that nobody has any real idea how a Brown-led Labour is going to go down with the voters. Will his changed status as leader and Prime Minister change the way he’s perceived or could this simply magnify the negatives that have been shown up in poll after poll?

Newnight last night compared reactions to Cameron’s speech against Brown’s last week with their “voter meter testing” and the omens were not that good for the would-be Labour leader.

But assuming he gets it Brown will have all the power of the PM to set the agenda and has the political skills to raise the issues to make it tougher for Cameron. After yesterday, for instance, the Tory leader is going to find it hard opposing anything to do wth the NHS.

With everything really up in the air there’s a new General Election market from Corals on the size of the majority or whether it’s going to be a hung parliament. The bookmaker has divided it up into 25 seat segments and its opening prices look quite interesting.

Hung parliament 6/5
Majority 0-25:CON 13/2 LAB 7/1
Majority 26-50:CON 10/1 LAB 11/1
Majority 51-75:CON 12/1 LAB 14/1
Majority 76 – 100:CON 14/1 LAB 20/1
Majority 101 – 125:CON 20/1 LAB 25/1
Majority 126 – 150:CON 25/1 LAB 33/1
Majority 150+:CON 25/1 LAB 33/1

At this stage but it’s hard to see the outcome being out of the range of a 25 seat majority on either side. The Tory challenge is that they need a lead on votes of at least 9-10% to be in overall majority territory. Labour can maintain power just by getting the most votes.

I’m a strong believer in the adage that “oppositions don’t win elections – governments lose them” and it will probably be this time next year before we can make firmer predictions.

Mike Smithson

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