If you want to reduce the election to just two constituencies, here are today’s candidates: Keighley & Sherwood.

Based on Ladbrokes’ odds on every seat in the country, we can calculate the tipping point contests which could decide the election. If the Tories are to remain as the largest party, our latest odds suggest they will have to win 281 seats. Their 281st most likely win, as implied by those odds, is Keighley.

Labour narrow favourites to win, which is strange in some ways because the Tories are currently marginal favourites to win most seats. Lord Ashcroft polled the seat back in October and found Labour ahead by 6%.

I might expect it to be a little closer if it were polled today, given that the national surveys have moved slightly towards the Conservatives since. One of the crucial factors here is how that 23% UKIP vote holds up. If the Tories can win a few of those back, and perhaps if the #GreenSurge causes a few Labour voters to switch, this could be on a knife edge.

If they want to win a majority, we need to look at their 326th most likely win;

An unexpected tipping point seat, given that the Tories hold it already and don’t have a majority. The betting implies that they have 325 more likely seat wins, though. A tiny 214 vote majority for the Conservatives and Ashcroft has already polled it twice.

Similarly to Keighley, there is a very high UKIP vote here and I would assume that incumbent MP Mark Spencer will be targeting that in a bid to achieve re-election.

The Ladbrokes’ Election Forecast is produced by looking at our odds in each of the 650 constituencies and simply adding up which party is favourite in each seat.

The full breakdown and changes since we last published on March 5th:

  • 277 Conservatives (+1.5)
  • 273.5 Labour (-1)
  • 42.5 SNP (nc)
  • 30 LD (nc)
  • 3 UKIP (-0.5)
  • 3 PC 
  • 1 Green 
  • 1 Respect
  • 1 Speaker
  • 18 N.Ireland

The half-seats occur in constituencies where we have joint favourites.

A very small shift since two weeks ago, and one that doesn’t really change the post-election maths. It’s going to be very hard for David Cameron to remain as PM with a result like this.

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.

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 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.

 

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