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Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Betting update #5 - Lib Dem gains and losses

It's eve of poll and much of the election betting will have been done today (which probably explains why the Political Betting site crashed earlier today!). Party insiders will have a good idea of how voting is going, through intelligence gathered from the verification of postal ballots.

The betting markets for individual marginal seats are traditionally dominated by punters with inside knowledge, so by now the odds should be a good guide to the final outcome (or, if they're wrong, a good guide to where you can still make money). 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 earlier round-up last Wednesday. Data on the Liberal Democrats' target seats is here. There isn't a betting market for all the marginal and target constituencies (no market, for example, for Aberdeen South, Dunbartonshire East or Totnes).

Here's how the Liberal Democrats will fare according to the punters. Constituencies where there has been a change in the predicted outcome since my previous round-up (last Sunday) are marked with an asterisk (*). Constituencies where a new betting market has opened since Sunday 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 - Labour hold
* Cambridge - Labour hold
Cardiff Central - Lib Dem gain from Labour
Colne Valley – Labour hold (Lib Dems third)
Dorset North - Tory hold
Dorset West - Lib Dem gain from Tory
Eastbourne – Lib Dem gain from Tory
* Edinburgh South – Lib Dem gain from Labour
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
+ Leeds North West - Labour hold
Maidenhead - Tory hold
New Forest East – Tory hold
* Oldham East and Saddleworth - Labour hold
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 Edinburgh South. But the odds have moved against the Lib Dems in Bristol West, Cambridge and Oldham East. The trend over the past week has been for the betting to support the incumbent of whichever party, and to predict fewer seats changing hands in any direction.

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 3 seats from the Tories, and gaining 5 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 +8, which would give the party 59 seats.

This 'bottom-up' form of betting is producing a less optimistic result than the 'top-down' betting, which is suggesting closer to 70 seats.

I have been following this betting site for the last two weeks and it is clear that the money has gone mainly for the incumbent party. i owuld howevr note that Surrey Sw is a split position. In one case the odds favour the Toris and in another the LDs.

however, as with other betting experiences, the favourites dont always win.I would therefore expect that a few more seats on the list will change hands.

What is clear isthat the top down approach of around 70 or more seats reflects the latest upswing in LDsupport according to the polls. It also doesnt require for an individua; seat to be called correctly.

all in all, I am expecting the LDs to do better than the individua; results in the betting site, and am going for about 70-75 seats.

Maybe this is wishful thinking or maybe it will be proven to be clearsightedness into the crystal ball.
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