Based on Ladbrokes’ odds in each individual constituency, we’re projecting that five seats in Scotland will change hands at the next general election. Amazingly, not a single seat switched in 2010 (ignoring a couple of seats regained after by-elections). Here are the constituencies most at risk this time. The “lose chance” is the probability, based on our odds, of the incumbent party being defeated :

SeatWinner 2010Maj % Prediction Lose Chance
Argyll & Bute LD7.6 SNP GAIN 77.64%
Gordon LD13.8 SNP GAIN 64.42%
Dunbartonshire East LD4.5 LAB GAIN 63.18%
Edinburgh West LD8.2 LAB GAIN 60.58%
Inverness LD18.6 LD LOSS 56.85%
Aberdeenshire W & K LD8.2 LD HOLD 48.78%
Berwickshire, Rox & Sel LD11.6 LD HOLD 46.04%
Caithness, Suth & ER LD16.8 LD HOLD 36.62%
Ochil & Perthshire South LAB10.3 LAB HOLD 36.07%
Falkirk LAB15.4 LAB HOLD 35.51%
Dumfriesshire, C & T CONS9.1 CON HOLD 35.10%
Fife North East LD22.6 LD HOLD 33.19%
Dundee East SNP4.5 SNP HOLD 27.03%
Ross, Skye and Lochaber LD37.5 LD HOLD 12.61%
Orkney and Shetland LD51.3 LD HOLD 6.44%

Danny Alexander is given a 57% chance of losing his Inverness seat, but we aren’t forecasting a gain for any party, because the SNP and Labour are both in with a reasonable chance of winning it.  So, that still remains in the LD column in our overall totals below as he is still just about favourite, although odds-against.

We have the SNP as gaining two seats from the Liberal Democrats, but both are very hard to call, especially Argyll & Bute where they actually came fourth last time. This is probably the most difficult seat in Britain to forecast, with all four parties in with a shout. Their best chance of any gains from Labour come in Ochil & Perthshire South and Falkirk – you can back them at 7/4 in each of those two seats.

The Tories are forecast to remain with just one Scottish MP, although they have a couple of very plausible targets in Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk at 11/10, and Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine at 6/4.

Here are the projected new seat totals for Scotland, (with changes from 2010):

  • Lab 43 (+2)
  • SNP 8 (+2)
  • LD 7  (-4)
  • Cons 1 (nc)

Clearly, the big unknown is how the result of the Independence Referendum will affect voter behavior. If there is a YES vote, then these MPs will presumably be out of a job within two years of the election.

 

William Hague’s impending departure from the Commons has opened up a vacancy in one of the Tories’ safest constituencies in the country. So, we’ve opened up a market on who will be their candidate for the next general election.

The Daily Mail have speculated that Selina Scott could be in the frame. If Boris is to return to Westminster in 2015, he won’t find a safer seat, although being an MP for the Yorkshire Dales and Mayor of London simultaneously is going to be a hard sell. Wendy Morton and Robin Scott appear to be the most plausible candidates from the local party machine. If anyone has any other suggestions for likely candidates, feel free to post them here.

Constituency profile courtesy of UK Polling Report.

The Guardian’s Dave Hill has written today about the race to be Labour’s candidate for the 2016 London Mayoral election. He gives a very favourable mention to Sadiq Khan’s chances, but it is Dame Tessa Jowell who is now favourite to be Labour candidate and has also edged ahead of Boris in the outright betting

If Boris doesn’t stand again, which almost everyone is assuming, it’s quite hard to see how the Labour candidate isn’t going to become Mayor. Lord Coe would be an interesting runner, but he’s shown no sign of wanting to get back into politics. We’ve seen a bit of money for George Galloway at 25/1; I could just about imagine him making a run-off, but surely he wouldn’t win a second round against a competent Labour alternative.

As things stand, Sadiq Khan would be a very bad result for Ladbrokes, as he’s been backed down from 33/1.

BERLIN, GERMANY – APRIL 05: The former Prime Minister of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker speaks at the CDU federal congress on April 5, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. The CDU, which is the majority partner in a coalition government with the German Social Democrat, is meeting to agree on its policy course ahead of European Parliament elections scheduled for May. (Photo by Axel Schmidt/Getty Images)

Has Jean Claude Juncker’s nomination pushed the UK nearer to an EU exit?

Maybe a little, but even so, it’s still fairly unlikely to happen during this decade. What are the odds?

First, we’d almost certainly need a referendum. Ladbrokes make that an odds-against chance before 2018, and if it hasn’t happened by then, it almost certainly won’t before the subsequent general election.

So, based on those odds, I am going to assign a 40% probability to a referendum happening.

Then, the UK population have to decide to vote to leave.

Let’s go with a 50% chance of a decision to exit. I don’t think that is a particularly generous assessment, given that it’s quite likely that the leadership of all the main parties will be campaigning for remaining a member. Most major business interests are likely to be on the same side.

So, taking just those two conditions together, we’ve got a probability of 0.4 x 0.5 = 0.2 i.e. 20%. Which is perhaps a little less likely than you might imagine had you been reading certain commentators in today’s papers.

 

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 26: Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (R) and UKIP (UK Independence Party) leader Nigel Farage, hosted by LBC’s Nick Ferrari, take part in a debate over Britain’s future in the European Union, held at 8 Northumberland Avenue on March 26, 2014 in London, England. Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage will go head to head in the first of two debates about whether Britain should stay in the EU. (Photo by Ian West – WPA Pool / Getty Images)

 

Just over two years ago, Ladbrokes opened a market on which of UKIP and the Liberal Democrats would get most votes at the next general election. We made UKIP 5/1.  Today, for the first time, they are now favourites to out-poll the Lib Dems.

YouGov’s latest poll has UKIP ahead 14-8. Survation has it at an incredible 22-7.

There are many reasons for thinking that the Liberal Democrats will recover and UKIP drop down. But the lead that UKIP have had for many months shows no sign of diminishing right now.

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