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.

 

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.

Channel 4 are planning a “mockumentary” based on the early days of a UKIP government. So, naturally, we’ve knocked up some odds on who will play Farage. I don’t really have much more to say, but if anyone has any good suggestions for other possibles, post them here and we’ll add the best ones to our betting.

 

You have to think that Douglas Carswell must be very confident of taking the seat for UKIP for him to have stood down in the first place. He’s in a part of the world which is demographically quite UKIP friendly and the party did very well in local council elections. This will be a hugely demoralising blow for the local Conservative party and, despite a twelve thousand plus majority, we think that Carswell’s personal standing makes him a strong favourite.

It’s certainly possible that Labour could sneak this by mopping up some of the Lib Dem vote and hoping that UKIP and the Tories split down the middle. However, we thought the same about Newark and they put in a fairly woeful display there.

I wouldn’t say that we saw this coming, but a few people had some small bets on Carswell to be next UKIP leader in the last week – his odds had gone from 100/1 to 33/1 even before this news; he’s 2/1 favourite now. We’d also taken some money from informed sources on UKIP to win Clacton at the general election at 20/1. I don’t think they were guessing.

We’ve cut the odds on UKIP winning a seat anywhere in the UK at the general election from 4/6 to 1/3. We’ve also quoted 6/4 that any other Tory MP defects before the general election. Nadine Dorries and Mark Reckless are a couple of names that spring to mind.

Have we missed out anyone obvious? Feel free to post suggestions here and we’ll add any good ones to the betting.  Latest odds are on our website here

A quick note on the rules for this one; only defectors before the next general election count and we’ll return all stakes if no Tory MP defects to UKIP before then.

 

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