#CameronMustGo – But when?

Which year will David Cameron leave the post of Prime Minister?

2015 is obviously the most likely – If Labour get the most seats at the general election (the betting markets say that’s about a 50% chance) Cameron will probably be leaving Downing Street. A very close result might leave him in place even if the Conservatives weren’t the biggest party, but such a result might also precipitate another general election quite quickly, when his position would be back in doubt.

If he gets through next year than anything is possible, especially if he’s in charge of a government with an uncertain majority. 2017 could be another trigger point if we get an EU referendum that year and PM Cameron is campaigning for IN but the result goes the other way.

Tory and Labour majority chances fading fast

The new forecast from Stephen Fisher at electionsetc shows Labour’s chances of being the biggest party increase, but the probability of a hung parliament hitting a new high.

Similarly at Ladbrokes, the odds of no party getting a majority have now hit their lowest level at 2/5, having been Evens less than two months ago. Labour and the Tories remain tied at 10/11 each to win the most seats. Combining our odds on the most seats market and majority betting, we can produce the following implied estimates (for the purposes of this I’ve ignored the chances of UKIP and the Lib Dems, although plenty of people are backing the former):

 

 

 

 

One caveat about the Fisher numbers: They haven’t yet properly dealt with the recent SNP surge in Scotland. Once they’ve built that in, I expect their Labour majority estimate will be a bit closer to ours.

All of this has led to a totally wide open market on the make up of the post-election government.

The 50/1 unknown who might be the next Liberal Democrat leader

The Liberal Democrat PPC for Ashfield, JasonZadrozny, has been the subject of some interesting market support to succeed Nick Clegg as party leader in recent days. We added him to the betting at 100/1 a couple of weeks back; he’s now 50/1 and we took some more money at that price today.

Sure, we’ve only taken a few hundred pounds on him, but that’s already more than we’ve taken on better known possibilities like Jo Swinson and Simon Hughes.

The first major hurdle for him to clear is getting into parliament. The Lib Dems did a great job of getting within 200 votes of winning the seat in 2010, making it the second biggest Lab-LD swing in the country. It might seem unlikely that they can gain any new seats next May, but we make it only 4/1 that they unseat Gloria De Piero here. This is a seat where it’s easy to imagine that UKIP might poll quite well and disproportionately take votes away from Labour.

I suppose it’s extremely unlikely he could win an immediate post-election leadership contest, if Clegg does step down. Perhaps a few years down the line though; after all Clegg was only an MP for two years before he became leader (although he already had a reasonably high profile as a former MEP).

One other relatively unknown name to keep an eye on is the PPC for Watford, Dorothy Thornhill. The popular Mayor is only 13/8 to win the seat for the Lib Dems next May and if the party wanted a female leader, there might not be much competition around after the election. She’s only 33/1 to succeed Clegg.

 

The Top 10 Labour seats under threat from UKIP

Lots of talk today about which party will be most affected by UKIP in next year’s general election. The Evans & Mellon article above suggests the Tories still have most to worry about, but I thought I’d have a look at which Labour seats are most at threat, as indicated by Ladbrokes’ latest constituency odds. The UKIP Win % is their chances of gaining each seat, as implied by the latest prices.

Seat Region UKIP Win %
Great Grimsby Yorks & Humber 32.9%
Rotherham Yorks & Humber 28.5%
Dudley North West Midlands 17.9%
Newcastle-under-Lyme West Midlands 15.1%
Rother Valley Yorks & Humber 15.0%
Walsall North West Midlands 12.9%
Heywood and Middleton North West 10.2%
Walsall South West Midlands 10.1%
Hull East Yorks & Humber 10.1%
Plymouth Moor View South West 10.0%

So, UKIP are not (yet) favourites to win a single Labour seat, whereas they are outright favourites in five Tory held seats (we’re including Clacton in there). It’s worth mentioning that seats like Thurrock and Great Yarmouth, which are among those five, might very well have had Labour as favourites to win if it were not for an expected strong UKIP showing.

Of UKIP’s top 20 most likely wins overall, 16 were won by the Conservatives in 2010. So, as far as the betting markets are concerned, this is still more of a problem for David Cameron than it is for Ed Miliband,

Farage v Brand on Question Time: Place Your Bets

Nigel Farage AND Russell Brand on Question Time tonight? We had to roll out some betting, so here are our Buzzword Bingo odds. Your bet is a winner if any of the panellists mention the exact words or phrase on the BBC1 broadcast edition. Audience members and Dimbleby do not count.

“Trumpton” has been the big mover so far; 16/1 into 8/1. For anyone who doesn’t already know what that’s about, give it a search on twitter and you’ll soon find out.

The betting will probably be suspended around 7.30pm tonight, as the show will be pre-recording about then.

The Top Five betting constituencies for 2015

Constituency betting is now a huge part of the overall betting market on the general election. 2010 was the first time that any bookmaker priced up every seat and we’ve given it a go again for 2015.

It’s quite hard for us bookies to make any money out of this. It is a very difficult task to keep on top of 650 different local heats where, in theory, people on the ground might have access to lots of useful information that we don’t have. We were delighted to break even in 2010 – that was mainly because we took stacks of money on the Liberal Democrats to win lots of extra seats which they spectacularly failed to do. Streatham, Durham and Hull North were three of the most notable contests where Lib Dem punters got their fingers burnt.

Ladbrokes took a nasty hit in quite a few seats. The Greens winning Brighton Pavilion was most unwelcome. However, the worst mistake we made was offering 100/1 about the Alliance Party winning Belfast East: We failed to realise that the popular ex-Lord Mayor of the city was running as their candidate and had to pay out thousands to clued up locals.

Anyway, based on the last election and the money we’ve taken so far for 2015, I’m going to take a guess at the five seats that will generate the most betting interest next year.

Nigel Farage’s presence will ensure this seat gets an enormous amount of media and polling attention and we’ve taken more money here than any other constituency so far. Initially available at 3/1, UKIP were backed down to 4/9 before yesterday’s Ashcroft poll which put the Tories ahead.

The biggest betting heat of 2010 looks sure to be near the top again. The Greens’ rise in the national polls is a good sign for Caroline Lucas, but the performance of the Green led council might not be helping her chances.

Potentially the tightest three way marginal in the country. The Lib Dem selection of popular Mayor Dorothy Thornhill has made this a live chance of being a surprise gain.

Julian Huppert seems to be all over the telly these days and has a big job hanging on to his 7,000 majority in a student town. Chuck in high profile kipper Patrick O’Flynn and the possibility of a decent Green vote to make this one even more unpredictable.

Is Danny Alexander’s high profile going to help or hinder his chances of holding on to a majority of almost 9,000 votes? The SNP’s odds have gone from 4/1 to 4/9, but recently we’ve seen a few shrewd judges backing the Lib Dems to hold on, despite their woeful Scottish poll numbers.

Ashcroft polling shakes up constituency betting odds

Lord Ashcroft’s latest constituency polling contained some fascinating snapshots of some of the big betting seats, and has resulted in some major shifts in the odds.

  • Thanet South; Farage in trouble

The most newsworthy finding is that Nigel Farage is in second place behind the Tories in Thanet South.  Punters had been piling into UKIP to win the seat; over 90% of the money staked had been for them and their odds had plummeted from 6/4 into 4/9. We still make him favourite, now at 4/6, but surely the Tories have to be a good bet at 7/4? There must be a very strong chance that some of the substantial Labour vote will vote tactically to keep out Farage, if they reason that their candidate is unlikely to win.

  • Portsmouth South; Tories take over as favourites from Lib Dems

There was some pretty good news for the Lib Dems in a lot of these seats, but this was an exception; no doubt due to the fact that sitting MP Mike Hancock has been thrown out of the party and there is not going to be any incumbency advantage for them to fall back on. The Tories are now Evens from 5/2 to overturn the 5,200 Lib Dem majority.

  • Doncaster North; could UKIP unseat Ed Miliband?

With Labour showing at 40% in this poll and UKIP in a clear second place, tactical voting from Conservative supporters could put the Labour leader in danger. We cut the odds of a shock UKIP win from 12/1 to 8/1.

Reckless likely to lose next May, say bookies

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.

 

SNP now favourites to win most Scottish seats.

There’s been a bit of a gamble on the SNP to win the most seats in Scotland in next May’s general election. Available at 11/10 this morning, a rush of money has seen them move into 8/11 favourites.

There hasn’t been any particularly new polling or news developments over the weekend that I am aware of to cause this. When you get this sort of move, it’s most likely some kind of tipping line, or perhaps a coordinated group of gamblers.

We’ve also made a number of adjustments to our constituency betting north of the border. Let’s have a look at the seats in which the SNP are now clear favourites, and their latest chances of winning each seat, as implied by Ladbrokes’ odds:

6 SNP HOLDS

  • 93% Moray
  • 91% Angus
  • 92% Dundee East
  • 90% Banff & Buchan
  • 87% Na h-Eileanan an lar
  • 85% Perth & North Perthshire

8 GAINS FROM LIB DEMS

  • 77% Gordon
  • 66% Argyll & Bute
  • 61% Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey
  • 61% Fife North East
  • 59% Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross
  • 45% Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine
  • 43% Edinburgh West
  • 34% Dunbartonshire East (joint favs w/Labour)

3 GAINS FROM LABOUR

  • 71% Ochil & South Perthshire
  • 64% Falkirk
  • 63% Dundee West

So, if they win every seat in which they are favourites, that still only leaves them with 17. They will likely need to win around 27 in order to be the largest party in Scotland. Which probably indicates that either our constituency odds for the SNP are a little too generous or that Labour are a good price at Evens to win most seats. I expect the answer probably lies somewhere in the middle.

How to get a £15,000 bet on politics.

Yes, someone walked in to one of our shops in Sheffield yesterday and put £15,000 on Ed Miliband to remain as Labour leader until the general election. At odds of 1/8, they will be picking up a profit of just under £2,000 if they are right.

People are sometimes sceptical of these reports of relatively large bets being placed on political markets. If you were to go on to our website, you’ll usually find the maximum stakes allowed are much lower. That’s because we need to have some automated controls to prevent us running up large liabilities in the event of something relevant happening whilst we’re not paying attention. On the other hand, if you go into one of our shops or ring our telephone betting lines, you’ve got the chance to ask for much bigger amounts and get them referred to a trader. In the case of politics, usually me. Then we get a quick chance to have a think, make sure nothing important has happened to effect the odds, and make a decision.

If we don’t get our automated risk management systems right, we run the risk of losing a lot of money when stuff happens, especially if that stuff happens when the relevant traders aren’t around. The worst example of that happening in politics was the announcement of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s running mate in Autumn 2012. The news leaked overnight, things didn’t work as they should have at our end, and I woke up to discover we’d taken thousands of pounds at around 3/1 on Ryan to be the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate. Utterly galling, when you’ve spent weeks managing a market that was previously looking quite promising.