In 2019 the Conservatives won an 80 seat majority with an 11.5% popular vote lead. Since then their polling lead has floated between 20% to around 0%. Right now it is mid to high single digits, though polls are a bit all over the place at the moment.
They will probably win a majority again at the next election. That shouldn’t be a controversial statement, yet the betting markets will give you up to 2/1 on this outcome. Why?
The arguments against the Tories start with the sheer length of time they’ve been in office. By the next election it will be well over a decade since Cameron became PM in 2010, and parties tend to struggle the longer they hold power. The first election after the ten year mark for Blair/Brown saw Labour lose power, while the only other post-war government to make it that far (Thatcher/Major) saw the party’s majority slashed and only a late rally avoid defeat.
Additionally, Starmer’s Labour Party is decently positioned to challenge at the next election. Starmer’s personal ratings have faded over time, but he is still generally close to Johnson on the Best PM question compared to Corbyn’s numbers. On the headline voter intention numbers, as you can see, Labour haven’t led but have the gap down to well below the 2019 result. It’s easy to imagine a good election campaign giving them the edge.
Despite this, I think the Tories have a clear advantage. No party has lost power with such a large majority since the 1970 election a mere 5 decades ago. The Tories are also likely to go into the next election with an even higher notional majority once boundary changes are surely passed. There are also some signs in the chart above that the system is simply Conservative-favoured (or they are systematically better at navigating it), due to media support, being culturally more focused on winning elections, or some other factor.
Ultimately there isn’t any deep analysis in this article. The Tories have a large majority, a broadly popular PM, more friendly media than the opposition, and haven’t been behind in the polls since the last election. They will probably win the next one. And while I don’t think they should be that much shorter than evens to do so, the 7/4 at various bookies (or 2/1 at Gentingbet and possibly others) is substantial value. The timeframe is long, but at those odds I’m in.
Pip Moss posts on Political Betting as Quincel. You can follow him on Twitter at @PipsFunFacts