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Sunday, May 01, 2005


Betting update #4 - Lib Dem gains and losses

As we get closer to polling day, more money is being placed in the betting markets for individual marginal seats and, given that many of the bets are being placed by punters with inside knowledge, the odds are becoming an increasingly good guide to the final outcome. Where are the punters currently predicting gains or losses?

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 that very useful site).

The betting market on individual constituencies comes with several health warnings - please refer to my previous round-up last Wednesday. Data on the Liberal Democrats' target seats is here. There isn't yet a betting market for all the marginal and target constituencies (still no market yet for Aberdeen South, Dunbartonshire East or Totnes); it's possible new markets may open before polling day, though unlikely at this late stage.

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

Vulnerable (and not so vulnerable) Lib Dem-held seats:

Brecon and Radnor - Lib Dem hold
Brent East - Lib Dem hold
Cheadle - Lib Dem hold
+ Chesterfield - Lib Dem hold
Colchester – Lib Dem hold
+ Cornwall North - Lib Dem hold
Dorset Mid and North Poole – Lib Dem hold
Eastleigh - Lib Dem hold
Guildford - Lib Dem hold
Hereford - Lib Dem hold
Leicester South - Labour gain from Lib Dem
Ludlow – Lib Dem hold
Newbury – Lib Dem hold
Norfolk North - Lib Dem hold
Richmond Park - Lib Dem hold
Romsey – Lib Dem hold
Somerton and Frome – Lib Dem hold
Southwark North and Bermondsey - Lib Dem hold
Teignbridge - Lib Dem hold
Torridge and West Devon - Lib Dem hold
Weston-super-Mare - Lib Dem hold
Yeovil - Lib Dem hold
Lib Dem target seats:

Birmingham Yardley - Lib Dem gain from Labour
+ Bournemouth East - Tory hold
* Bristol West - Lib Dem gain from Labour
Cambridge - Lib Dem gain from Labour
Cardiff Central - Lib Dem gain from Labour
* Colne Valley – Labour hold (3-way marginal)
Dorset North - Tory hold
* Dorset West - Lib Dem gain from Tory
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 - Tory hold
Hornsey and Wood Green – Labour hold
Inverness NB&S - Lib Dem gain from Labour [on new boundaries]
Isle of Wight - Tory hold
Islington North - Labour hold
Islington South - Labour hold
Maidenhead - Tory hold
New Forest East – Tory hold
* Oldham East and Saddleworth - neck and neck between Lib Dems and Labour
Orpington - Lib Dem gain from Tory
Surrey South West - Tory hold
* Taunton - Tory hold
+ Watford - Labour hold
+ Wells - Tory hold
* Westbury - Tory hold
Westmoreland and Lonsdale - Tory hold
Wiltshire North – Tory hold
The odds have moved in the Lib Dems' favour in Bristol West, Dorset West and Oldham East. But the odds have moved against the Lib Dems in Colne Valley, Harborough, Taunton and Westbury. Generally, the odds suggest that the Tories are increasingly likely to hold most of their marginal seats, and that most Lib Dem gains will be from Labour.

So, what are the scores on the doors?

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 none of the seats it won in 2001, gaining three 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 or 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 +9 and +10, which would give the party between 60 and 61 seats.

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