Archive for May, 2007

h1

Has Gordon of the”Courage” book got the guts?

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

    Should we be betting on a 2007 election on Betfair’s new market?

courage gb.JPGIs it worth betting on a 2007 general election on the new date market that’s just been opened on Betfair?

You have to select in six month bands going through to January 1st 2010. There’s little money on offer at the moment but this will build up as the market becomes known.

What are the chances that the author of the new book on Courage, Gordon Brown will take the chance and go for a new mandate that would guarantee him a full five year term?

Looking at the way the polls have move since Tony confirmed he was going then Gordon should surely take the possibility seriously.

Things are going well for Labour and the chances of a post-Blair media honeymoon must be quite strong.

The great thing is the party could still retain an overall majority even if the party was 2 per cent behind on the national vote. The Tories, by contrast. probably need a vote margin of 10 per cent so there’s a lot of margin wiggle room.

Whatever the new Betfair market is going to be fun to play in the lead up to the next election. I don’t think Brown will do it – a decision that he could regret. My money, when the prices are right, will be on Gordon going in 2010.

Mike Smithson

book banner.gif



h1

Labour move to 35% with Ipsos-Mori

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

GB happy jpg.JPG

    Brown’s party boosted by big increase in intention to vote

News of the final poll for May is just out and shows a big move to Labour. The headline figures from the Ipsos-Mori poll are with changes on last month CON 37% (-1): LAB 35% (+4): LD 18% (-2).

Like all Ipsos-Mori polls the figures shown are based on those who say they are “certain to vote” and given what has happened with other pollsters it had been expected that Labour would do well. The 35% share must be particuarly pleasing.

Overall the moves reported today are in direct line with the other recent polls.

  • The Tories will feel reasonably comfortably about being within 1% of their April predicted share
  • Labour will be delighted by the fact that supporters are saying that they are more likely to turn out thus boosting the figures
  • The Lib Dems will be disappointed that yet another surveys has them on the decline
  • Fieldwork was conducted face-to-face on 17-22 May 2007 and involved a sample of 1,999 people. Because of timing fieldwork was finalised before the recent YouGov and Communicate Research polls.

    Given the prolonged period of positive media coverage for the party since the week after the May elections then the finding are not surprising. The question is can Labour keep it up?

    Mike Smithson



    h1

    So what job has Jack been promised?

    Thursday, May 31st, 2007

    jack straw 2.JPG

      What’s his reward for delivering Brown his coronation?

    Looking back over the past three months the move that secured the leadership and Number 10 for Brown without the bother of a contest was the appointment of Jack Straw to run the Chancellor’s campaign.

    At the time Straw himself was being tipped as a contender and everybody assumed that he must have been promised something big. But what was that going to be for the former boss of both the home and foreign offices? Blair had moved him out of the latter, it was reported, because of protestations from Condoleezza Rice.

    The only one of the the major posts that he hadn’t held was Chancellor and on the markets all the money starting going on him to be Brown’s successor there. From a price of more that 8/1 in February the Straw betting moved to him becoming the 6/4 favourite for the treasury.

      Given the sensitivities about having too many Scotsmen in top positions and the assumption that Gordon would not want to upset the White House by giving Straw back the foreign office the chancellorship looked the obvious one.

    But the money began moving away from Straw in the past week or so following the suggestions that he might be being lined up for Deputy PM.

    Now the messages that are coming out are that the winner of Labour’s deputy leader contest will, like John Prescott, get that role.

      If the latest deputy PM speculation is to be believed then we are back to the question – what’s Jack been promised?

    In the “next chancellor” betting Scotland’s Alistair Darling has now tightened to what seems to be an incredibly mean 2/5 while Straw is the 8/1 second favourite.

    At these prices I think it’s worth a punt again on Straw.

    Mike Smithson

    book banner.gif



    h1

    Thompson GOP move sees his price tighten to 4/1

    Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

    fred thompson politico.JPG

      Could the Republicans choose a movie actor again?

    Big moves on the Republican White House ’08 nominee markets following the news this afternoon that the lawyer turned movie actor turned Senator, Fred Thompson looks certain to run. He’s now trading at just over 4/1 and has moved into the third favourite position.

    The idea that the party, which had its most successful years when ex-actor, Ronald Reagan served two full terms, might choose someone similar has been the cause of much speculation for weeks and Thompson has been attracting double figure support in the opinion polls.

      What’s driving the move to Thompson is that none of the three front runners in the GOP race appeals to conservatives within the party. McCain is seen as being just too old, the thrice-married Giuliani is portrayed as not standing for traditional values while Mitt Romney is a Mormon.

    The 64 year old from Tennessee first came to public notice in the early 1970s when he was one of the lawyers in the Watergate inquiry. He then got involved in a case against his state governor over allegations that pardons to convicted criminals were being sold for cash. The scandal became the subject of a best-selling book and later a film, Marie, in which Thompson portrayed himself. This led to him appearing in a total of 18 movies, including In the Line of Fire, Die Hard II and The Hunt for Red October.

    In 1994 he became a senator for his home state taking over the unused part of Al Gore’s term. When he stepped down he continued to remain in the public eye through his broadcasting work. He’s an analyst with ABC.

    It’s all starting to look very interesting.

    Mike Smithson



    h1

    Thread one – new poll shows big Labour progress

    Wednesday, May 30th, 2007


      Brown’s party moves up four points and more gloomy news for Ming

    A two thread day on PBC with news of the new poll here and the betting reaction to the Newsnight Deputy Leader hustings below.

    The May Communicate Research poll for the Independent shows a big boost for Labour this morning up four points from the 27% share that the pollster recorded in May. These are the figures with changes from last month: CON 35% (-1): LAB 31% (+4): LD 19% (-3).

    This is very much in line with other recent surveys and shows that much of Labour’s improvement is coming from the Lib Dem party which has found it hard getting its voice heard in the current political atmosphere.

      The main technical observation about the poll is over the timing. Normally CR mount their surveys over weekends and the latest might have coincided with the bank holiday and the half term break. There is a long history of quirky results coming out of bank holiday polls and both ICM and Populus make great efforts to avoid them.

    Tory chiefs will be pleased that the grammar row does not seem to have had much impact on its share in spite of how the Indy itself is trying to spin it this morning. Unlike last weekend’s YouGov survey the CR numbers taken intro account how likely it is that respondents will vote and the responses play a key part in its ratings.

    The big question now is whether Labour’s improvement will be further extended when Gordon finally takes up residence at Number 10. The party has enjoyed a good period of positive media coverage and will be hoping that the novelty of a new leader with a series of policy announcements will reinforce the progress that has been made.

    Mike Smithson

    book banner.gif



    h1

    Thread 2: the verdict of the market on Newsnight

    Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

    chart newsnight outsider.JPG

      The money moves to Cruddas after the Newsnight hustings

    The above chart records the changing fortunes on the Betfair betting exchange of the four outsiders in the race for the Deputy Leadership before, during, and in the aftermath of last night’s Newsnight hustings on BBC2 which started at 10.30 pm. To watch the debate click here.

      Most of us have opinions about political outcomes – gamblers are prepared to back up their views with hard cash and that’s what these charts are showing.

    The big “winner” amongst the outsiders was the only non-minister – John Cruddas who, until now has suffered from the lack of name recognition. As the Independent reports this morning his support is now growing in the constituencies with many more coming out and endorsing him.

    Cruddas has been a long-time tip on this site and many regulars got on him at quite long odds.

    This is how punters rated the two front runners.

    chart newsnight benn johnson.JPG

    The next big event that could affect the markets is a new YouGov poll of Labour members. This closed on Monday so the fieldwork took place before the televised hustings. Will Hilary Benn still be enjoying his substantial lead over Johnson?

    Mike Smithson

    book banner.gif



    h1

    ….meanwhile Labour struggles to get on the bulletins

    Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

    telegrsph brady resignation.JPG

    With Labour’s deputy hopefuls preparing for their ordeal by Paxman on Newsnight tonight and Tony Blair on his farewell tour of Africa it’s the Tories who are once again making the headlines.

    The conventional thinking is that this should be harming Cameron. I’m not so sure. The notion of a grammar school is from a bygone age and the Graham Brady looks like just the sort of Tory that the leadership are not going to worry about sacrificing.

    He’ll have his fifteen minutes of fame and this little fracas will just become a couple of paragraphs at the end if his Wikipedia entry – and that will be that.


  • Mike Smithson


  • h1

    If something happened to Dave who’d get his job?

    Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

    tory_recycling.jpg

      Would the Cameron project flounder without Cameron?

    In recent weeks we have had threads about the successors to both Brown and Campbell but so far we’ve not ventured into post-Cameron Tory territory – who would be leader if, for whatever reason, the party had to find a replacement?

    In many ways this seems a more remote possibility – Cameron’s made progress for his party in the polls and at forty is considerably younger than either Campbell or Brown. Also there’s been betting on the successors for the other two but not the Tory.

      But if something untoward happened who would move into the top job and with that the even bigger question – would the Cameron project to “decontaminate” the Tory brand continue if he was not there to lead it?

    For is the change programme and the ongoing battles with the traditionalists something that’s personal to Dave or could a successor continue to take the party in that direction? Or would a new leader take the Tory party back in a more traditional direction with the associated risk of losing support in the centre ground.

    Certainly it would be a superb battle to watch and bet on because there’s little doubt that there’d be a huge effort from the traditionalists to win back the party that they see as having been hijacked by the Cameron gang. There would seem to be four main leadership possibilities:-

    George Osborne, the shadow chancellor has been a close collaborator with Cameron right from the start and it was said that he was Michael Howard’s choice in 2005. He stood aside during that contest in favour of Dave and has played a pivotal part in the changes that have been made. Osborne would certainly be the man to take the change agenda forward – but would his election be a step too far? His main drawback is that he looks too young and with his squeaky voice he appears to lack gravitas. Osborne might decide that the best way of keep the change programme on track would be for him to pull out and throw his weight in with another contender.

    David Davis
    the shadow home secretary looked as though he had the job in the bag until he got up to make his conference speech at Blackpool in October 2005. This was the biggest moment of his life and he appeared to flunk it. But Davis has stayed on side with the new team and has grown in stature seeing off one Labour home secretary after another. Hugely competent but needs to recognise that to succeed in politics you need to work at your presentational skills as well. My guess is that he would win enough parliamentary support to make the short-list of two that would go to the membership ballot.

    William Hague the shadow foreign secretary has the unusual distinction of being the first Tory leader since Austen Chamberlain in the early 1920s not to have become PM. Could that be put right if a leadership vacancy occurred and he was given the chance of leading the Tories in a general election once again? Certainly he’s got ability and is a superb commons performer – but is that enough? He’s bald which is not good in a TV age and to many people his voice is not always easy on the ear. As for political direction you could see him doing a deal with Osborne and agreeing that most of the change programme would continue. If he decided to put his hat into the ring again he would probably make it to the final short-list.

    Liam Fox the shadow defence secretary who was a doctor before entering politics would surely be the vanguard for the right and put up a creditable performance in the 2005 leadership race coming in third place on the final MP ballot. He’s articulate and his traditional values on issues like marriage and abortion would certainly appeal to large swathes of the Tory membership. He’d be the person to stop the change programme and articulate a very different vision for the party. If he got the job then the Tories would lose their current USP of being the only party with a non-Scottish leader, though Fox does not represent a Scottish seat. My guess is that he’d make third place yet again but not get enough support for the membership ballot.

    My money would be on a Davis-Hague run-off with Hague finishing on top.

    Mike Smithson

    Graphic courtesy of Recessmonkey

    book banner.gif