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Friday, April 22, 2005

 

Betting update - Lib Dem gains and losses

The odds are moving in the Liberal Democrats' favour in many of the betting markets for individual target constituencies. Where are the punters currently predicting gains or losses?

As I reported in
Monday's posting, this betting portal on the Political Betting website enables you to compare odds for each of the individual constituencies where a betting market has opened up. (If you do bet online, please go through the links on the Political Betting site – doing so earns a commission that helps pay for the running of this very useful site).

Let me repeat some health warnings. First, this posting is a snapshot based on current odds (which in many cases are very narrow), and the betting market is by its nature in a state of flux. Second, relatively little money has been placed so far, so you can take the current odds with a pinch of salt. This will change as we get nearer to polling day, when the betting odds are likely to become a more reliable guide than the opinion polls. Third, there isn't yet a betting market for all the marginal and target constituencies (still no market for Islington South, surprisingly, and nothing yet for Aberdeen South, Dunbartonshire East, Totnes or Wells), though new markets may open later in the campaign.

Here's how the Liberal Democrats will fare according to the punters. Constituencies where there has been a change since Monday in the predicted outcome are marked with an asterisk (*). Constituencies where a new betting market has opened since Monday are marked with a cross (+).

Vulnerable Lib Dem-held seats:

* Brecon and Radnor - Lib Dem hold
* Brent East - Lib Dem hold
* Cheadle - Lib Dem hold
+ Colchester – Lib Dem hold
* Eastleigh - Lib Dem hold
Guildford - neck and neck between Lib Dems and Tories
* Hereford - Lib Dem hold
+ Leicester South - neck and neck between Lib Dems and Labour
* Ludlow – Lib Dem hold
* Mid Dorset and North Poole – Lib Dem hold
+ Newbury – Lib Dem hold
* North Norfolk - neck and neck between Lib Dems and Tories
Richmond Park - Lib Dem hold
* Romsey – Lib Dem hold
* Somerton and Frome – Lib Dem hold
Torridge and West Devon - Lib Dem hold
Weston-super-Mare - neck and neck between Lib Dems and Tories
Lib Dem target seats:

Birmingham Yardley - Lib Dem gain from Labour
Bristol West - Lib Dem gain from Labour
Cambridge - Labour hold
Cardiff Central - Lib Dem gain from Labour
+ Colne Valley – Labour hold (Lib Dems third)
+ Eastbourne – Lib Dem gain from Tory
+ Edinburgh South – Labour hold
+ Falmouth and Cambourne – Labour hold (Lib Dems not quoted)
+ Folkestone and Hythe – Tory hold
Haltemprice and Howden - Tory hold
+ Harborough - neck and neck between Lib Dems and Tories
+ Hornsey and Wood Green – Labour hold
Inverness, etc. - Lib Dem gain from Labour [on new boundaries]
Isle of Wight - Tory hold
Maidenhead - Tory hold
+ New Forest East – Tory hold
North Dorset - Tory hold
* Oldham East and Saddleworth - Lib Dem gain from Labour
* Orpington - Lib Dem gain from Tory
* South West Surrey - neck and neck between Lib Dems and Tories
Taunton - neck and neck between Lib Dems and Tories
* West Dorset - neck and neck between Lib Dems and Tories
+ Westbury - neck and neck between Lib Dems and Tories
Westmoreland and Lonsdale - Tory hold
+ Wiltshire North – Tory hold
The only constituency where the odds have moved against the Lib Dems appears to be North Norfolk, where it is a very tight contest. One bookie is offering shorter odds on the Lib Dems, the other on the Tories!

Overall, if this were the situation on polling day, and assuming there are no other constituencies in which the Lib Dems gain or lose seats, the party would be looking at losing between zero and three seats to the Tories, gaining between two and seven seats from the Tories, and gaining between six and seven seats from Labour (counting the two by-election wins, Brent East and Leicester South, as potential gains rather than holds/losses).

On a baseline of 51 seats won in 2001 (adjusted down from the 52 seats actually won in 2001 because of the Scottish boundary changes, and ignoring the two subsequent by-election gains), the punters are predicting a net change in Lib Dem seats of between +5 and +14, which would give the party between 56 and 65 seats. This tallies with the current betting and spread betting prices on the total number of seats.

Tip of the week – Pile on the Lib Dems in Folkestone and Hythe at 5/1. You'll probably lose your money but, if enough people bet, it'll shift the odds away from Howard and maybe keep the bugger tied up in Folkestone.

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