The odds for a YES vote moved in again today, to 7/2 from 4/1. That’s a fairly significant shift since the second debate, when the odds were 9/2.

I’ve seen an argument recently that the betting markets don’t really reflect opinion in Scotland, because large staking English punters are backing NO and skewing the odds. Let’s have a look at all of the money Ladbrokes have taken on the outright result since the debate finished on Monday night, broken down by country.

That seems fairly conclusive evidence  – Scottish money has overwhelmingly been for YES. In terms of numbers of bets taken, the same pattern appears:

So, even though most bets from England are for YES, a few bigger bets mean that the actual total stakes are more in favour of NO.

Based on all of the bets we have taken this week, there is certainly some evidence to back up the claim that a small number of wealthier, English punters are keeping the YES odds at a higher level than they would otherwise be.

Does that mean the betting markets are “wrong” and underestimating the true chance of a vote for Independence and missing the real “feeling on the ground”? Maybe, but it’s also perfectly plausible that people who have less emotional capital invested in the result are forming a more objective opinion on the likely outcome.

 

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.

 

Sky News have reported on some “internal UKIP polling”, which the say reveals UKIP’s top dozen target seats. Ladbrokes have odds on every seat in Britain and, based on those, we can allocate a probability of UKIP winning each of these twelve seats.

SeatWin 2010Maj%UKIP OddsUKIP Win %
Thanet SouthConservative16.611/1043.09%
Great YarmouthConservative9.915/832.01%
ThurrockConservative0.22/130.34%
Boston & SkegnessConservative28.85/225.76%
Thanet NorthConservative31.24/117.63%
Great GrimsbyLabour2.24/118.01%
Portsmouth SouthLib-Dem12.64/118.00%
EastleighLib-Dem7.25/115.03%
Sittingbourne & SheppeyConservative25.58/19.91%
Forest of DeanConservative22.712/17.02%
Worthing East & ShorehamConservative22.912/17.08%
AylesburyConservative23.716/15.45%

The top three in the list are especially promising as there is every chance they could be three-way contests and something around 35% of the vote could win any of those.

If UKIP high command had just looked at Ladbrokes’ odds, then the bottom four on the list wouldn’t have made the cut. All look like ultra safe Tory seats and it will take a huge effort to win any of these. Aylesbury has a majority of over twelve thousand, but I guess the party are hoping to exploit the HS2 issue here.

Party workers in Castle Point, Folkestone and Rotherham will be a bit disappointed not to have been included, as the betting would suggest that they are all much better prospects than the likes of Forest of Dean.

We’ve got some betting on how many seats UKIP will win in total next year; it’s 5/1 that they manage ten or above.

Salmond’s clear cut victory last night saw the odds of a YES vote cut from 9/2 to 4/1 with Ladbrokes. History tells us that any post-debate boost tends to mostly fade away pretty quickly, and there is no particular reason to think this will be any different. The odds on the exchanges dipped a bit immediately after the first debate poll, but rebounded pretty quickly. Most other bookmakers also cut the YES price, some to as low as 7/2.

The snap ICM poll last night seemed to indicate that it hadn’t changed the overall picture, but it will be interesting to see any polls later this week with fieldwork from the days after. If one of the more YES friendly pollsters is surveying today and tomorrow, it’s not inconceivable that we could see a tie, or even a YES lead. That really would shake the betting markets up.

There has also been a flurry of money on a high turnout after Salmond’s confident prediction that it would be over 80%. The odds of it being between 80 – 85% were cut from 7/2 to 3/1. I’ve written some more about turnout betting here.

Even though a NO vote would suit Ladbrokes’ betting position more at the moment, we were quite pleased that Salmond won as it helps keep interest in the outcome high. Another Darling victory might have sucked a bit of life out of the market.

Buzzword Bingo Results

For anyone who had a bet on our buzzword bingo debate market, we’ve settled the following as winners:

  • 1/100 Currency
  • 1/5 Plan B
  • 1/2 Tuition Fees
  • Evs Norway
  • 7/4 No Going Back
  • 3/1 Arc Of Prosperity

 

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