In the space of under a month, the odds on a hung parliament after the election have moved from Evens to 4/7.

The main development behind this has been the startling polling coming out of Scotland showing the possibility of sweeping SNP gains, mainly at Labour’s expense. The continued good showing of the Greens at the polls has also hurt Labour disproportionately.

Meanwhile, UKIP’s numbers have shown no sign of declining and the prospect of a comfortable win for Mark Reckless in Rochester next week isn’t going to help the Tories – UKIP are now 1/33 to win the by-election.

Is the betting shift reflected in the political scientists’ forecasting models? I’ve taken the latest estimates from a couple of excellent sites; Steven Fisher at electionsetc and Chris Hanretty at ElectionForecast and compared them to the probabilities suggested by Ladbrokes’ latest odds

Result LADBROKES FISHER HANRETTY Average
NOM 59% 56% 79% 65%
Lab Maj 23% 19% 9% 17%
Con Maj 17% 25% 12% 18%

The Hanretty estimate of a hung parliament would make it just under a 1/4 chance, which makes our 4/7 offer look quite generous. Both models make a Tory majority more likely than a Labour one, although that isn’t reflected in the betting yet.

All of this makes the market on what the post-election government will emerge even more open. We’ve seen a bit of money in recent days for a Lab/LD/SNP coalition, which has shortened up from 33/1 to 20/1.

Oh dear. The Ashcroft Scottish constituency polling may have been very bad news for Jim Murphy, but it wasn’t much better for Ladbrokes. We were hoping it might show some encouragement for Labour in some of their safest seats, but no. We are now sitting on some hefty losses if the SNP do as well as this polling suggests.

The SNP are now clear favourites in 40 seats in Scotland. Below is a list of every constituency, with their odds. You can find all of our latest constituency betting here.

Seat 2010  Winner SNP Odds
Moray SNP 1/100
Dundee East SNP 1/100
Angus SNP 1/100
Banff and Buchan SNP 1/100
Perth and Perthshire North SNP 1/33
Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP 1/25
Inverness, Nairn, B & S Lib-Dem 1/8 SNP GAIN
Argyll and Bute Lib-Dem 1/10 SNP GAIN
Dundee West Labour 1/7 SNP GAIN
Gordon Lib-Dem 1/7 SNP GAIN
Ochil and Perthshire South Labour 1/6 SNP GAIN
Falkirk Labour 1/5 SNP GAIN
Caithness, Sutherland & ER Lib-Dem 1/5 SNP GAIN
Glasgow East Labour 1/3 SNP GAIN
Ayrshire North and Arran Labour 1/3 SNP GAIN
Fife North East Lib-Dem 1/3 SNP GAIN
Cumbernauld, Kilsyth & K.E.  Labour 1/5 SNP GAIN
Glasgow North Labour 2/5 SNP GAIN
Kilmarnock and Loudoun Labour 2/5 SNP GAIN
Linlithgow and Falkirk East Labour 2/5 SNP GAIN
Motherwell and Wishaw Labour 2/5 SNP GAIN
Glasgow South Labour 2/5 SNP GAIN
Aberdeen North Labour 4/9 SNP GAIN
Dunbartonshire West Labour 1/2 SNP GAIN
Livingston Labour 1/2 SNP GAIN
Glasgow Central Labour 1/2 SNP GAIN
Edinburgh East Labour 1/2 SNP GAIN
Inverclyde Labour 4/7 SNP GAIN
Paisley and Renfrewshire S Labour 4/7 SNP GAIN
Airdrie and Shotts Labour 4/6 SNP GAIN
East Kilbride, Strathaven & L Labour 4/6 SNP GAIN
Glasgow North West Labour 4/6 SNP GAIN
Lanark and Hamilton East Labour 4/6 SNP GAIN
Midlothian Labour 4/6 SNP GAIN
Paisley and Renfrewshire N Labour 4/6 SNP GAIN
Stirling Labour 4/6 SNP GAIN
Dunbartonshire East Lib-Dem 4/6 SNP GAIN
Edinburgh West Lib-Dem 4/6 SNP GAIN
Aberdeen South Labour 8/11 SNP GAIN
Aberdeenshire W & Kincardine Lib-Dem 4/5 SNP GAIN
Glasgow South West Labour Evs
Coatbridge, Chryston & Bells’ Labour 11/10
Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock Labour 5/4
Ayrshire Central Labour 5/4
Dunfermline and Fife West Labour 6/4
Ross, Skye and Lochaber Lib-Dem 6/4
Edinburgh South West Labour 13/8
Edinburgh South Labour 7/4
Glenrothes Labour 15/8
Edinburgh North and Leith Labour 15/8
Glasgow North East Labour 2/1
East Lothian Labour 2/1
Renfrewshire East Labour 9/4
Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath Labour 11/4
Rutherglen and Hamilton West Labour 11/4
Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & T Conservative 3/1
Dumfries and Galloway Labour 3/1
Berwickshire, Roxburgh & S Lib-Dem 3/1
Orkney and Shetland Lib-Dem 4/1

Ladbrokes took a £16,500 bet on UKIP at 1/33 to win the Rochester by-election today. That intrepid punter will be collecting a £500 profit on Friday morning if things go as expected. If by some chance the Tories pull off a shock victory, it will probably be the most profitable by-election result in history for the bookies. I don’t hold out much hope.

The media narrative has already moved on to the guessing game of whether any other Tory MPs will be jumping ship. We now make it odds-on that at least one other Conservative defects before Christmas.

Favourite for a while now has been the MP for Kettering, Philip Hollobone. Interestingly, he is an old boy of Dulwich College, along with Nigel Farage. Some shrewdies have been backing UKIP to win his seat at the general election, now 6/1. I guess that might be better value than the 2/1 about him being next out.

The morning after last week’s Rochester and Strood by-election, we made the Tories 4/6 favourites to re-take the seat next May. Punters have been even more bullish and the Conservatives are now even stronger favourites, at 1/2, with UKIP drifting out to 6/4

According to our individual constituency prices, that means Rochester & Strood is now the eighth most likely win for UKIP at the general election. The UKIP win % is the chance of them taking the seat at the general election, as implied by our odds.

Rank Seat Win 2010 UKIP Win %
1 Clacton Cons 82.25%
2 Thanet South Cons 64.58%
3 Thurrock Cons 57.47%
4 Boston & Skegness Cons 56.06%
5 Great Yarmouth Cons 40.33%
6 Castle Point Cons 38.47%
7 Thanet North Cons 36.55%
8 Rochester & Strood Cons 35.87%
9 Great Grimsby Lab 32.94%
10 Rotherham Lab 28.51%
11 Cannock Chase Cons 27.91%
12 Dover Cons 27.77%
13 Louth & Horncastle Cons 26.29%
14 Basildon S & Thurrock E Cons 25.67%
15 Folkestone & Hythe Cons 22.65%
16 Sittingbourne & Sheppey Cons 22.57%
17 Eastleigh LD 20.81%
18 Camborne & Redruth Cons 20.23%
19 St Austell & Newquay LD 19.83%
20 Portsmouth South LD 19.66%

So, 15 of their top 20 prospects are Tory held seats although it’s worth pointing out that UKIP might prevent Labour from winning seats like Thurrock, Yarmouth and Cannock Chase which would all be very high on Ed Miliband’s target list.

As the betting markets continued to reflect the SNP’s rise in the polls, a new milestone was established this week when they became favourites to win a seat in Glasgow this May. The nationalists are also breathing down Labour’s necks in the other six, according to Ladbrokes’ latest seat-by-seat odds.

2010 Lab vote % 2010 SNP Vote % Lab Odds SNP Odds
Glasgow North 44.5 11.9 11/10 4/6
Glasgow Central 52.0 17.5 4/6 11/10
Glasgow East 61.6 24.7 8/15 11/8
Glasgow South 51.7 20.2 8/15 11/8
Glasgow North East 68.4 14.1 1/3 9/4
Glasgow North West 54.1 15.3 2/7 5/2
Glasgow South West 62.5 16.3 2/7 5/2

Glasgow North, a constituency in which they got under 12% of the vote in 2010, now has the SNP as favourites. In the days before the Independence referendum, you could have backed the SNP at 10/1. It’s tricky for those of us who attempt to predict elections to simply ignore the results of the last election; perhaps we all have to accept that the Scottish political landscape has changed for ever and that anchoring our expectations to 2010 is pointless.

Interestingly, this seat saw a huge gamble on the Liberal Democrats to take it at the last general election – they went off at 5/4 on the day. You can have 100/1 for them to win it this year.

Glasgow East was an SNP by-election gain in 2008, only for Labour to win it back easily at the general election, so there is some history of nationalist success in the city. If they are going to do as well in May as current polls suggest, they will almost certainly end up winning seats like this. Perhaps the 11/8 is still a value bet.

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