Archive for December, 2012

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The 10 “Wild moments” of the 2012 White House campaign

Monday, December 31st, 2012

A great recap of the political betting story of the year

To think that exactly a year ago we were waiting for the Iowa caucuses and the massive shock of Rik Santorum’s unexpected which for many of us led to big profits.

I love White House races and this one was superb seeing my longest odds winning bet ever, a lay of Romney at 1/100 in one of the early caucuses.

My big regret is that I didn’t risk more on an Obama victory.

Mike Smithson

For the latest polling and political betting news




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The size of the majority in 2015.

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Paddy Power have a market up on the size of the majority in 2015.

The current polling, and the boundary changes not happening, it seems difficult to envisage a Tory majority of any kind in the present circumstances.

At the time of writing, the odds were,

  • No Overall Majority 7/4
  • Conservative Majority 1 to 20 7/1
  • Conservative Majority 21 to 40 9/1
  • Conservative Majority 41 to 60 20/1
  • Conservative Majority Over 60 40/1
  • Labour Majority 1 to 20 15/2
  • Labour Majority 21 to 40 13/2
  • Labour Majority 41 to 60 5/1
  • Labour Majority Over 60 5/1

 

TSE



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PB Nighthawks is now open

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

Home of the web’s best political conversation

Relax, and converse into the night on the day’s events.

If you’ve always been a lurker, why not take the final few Steps, and become a poster on PB, it would be a Tragedy if we missed your contributions, hopefully at least 5,6,7,8 of your lurkers will delurk,

The round up of recent events (click on the links below, and it will bring up the relevant story)

TSE

 



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Will this be a successful strategy for the Lib Dems

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

According to reports, The Liberal Democrats are to attack their Conservative coalition partners in the new year by telling voters they can’t be trusted to look after the interests of normal people and are focused only protecting the very rich.

A leaked script of party lines to take in the media urges MPs, candidates and councillors to say that only the Lib Dems are committed to building a fair society. It was distributed by the Lib Dem director of communications, Tim Snowball, who appealed for recipients to “communicate from this script at every opportunity”.

The script also says Labour can’t be trusted to manage the economy, having “nearly bankrupted Britain”, but it is the strident tone on the Tories that is most notable given the potential for inflaming coalition tensions.

“The Conservatives can’t be trusted to build a fair society. Until the Lib Dems got into government, no one could stop the Tories from looking after the super rich who fund their party, while ignoring the needs of normal people who struggle to make ends meet,” according to the document.

Since there is polling that shows the voters perceive the Conservatives are the party of the rich, this approach by the Lib Dems may not be most outlandish strategy out there.

This approach hasn’t gone down very well with Tim Montgomerie, who advocates

“It’s time to threaten the Lib Dems with Mutually Assured Destruction”

 

 TSE



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antifrank looks ahead to 2013

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

 

So, what lies ahead for politics in 2013? Pausing only to admire my willingness to have a go, given my mediocre track record in predictions, let’s get stuck in.

The current state of play

Where are we now?

For this, I can borrow wholesale from my summary from last year.

  1. The public doesn’t approve of the Coalition.
  2. The public doesn’t much like David Cameron.
  3. The public really doesn’t like Nick Clegg.
  4. The public doesn’t rate Ed Miliband either.
  5. The public doesn’t like the EU. Surveys show that more people want to leave the EU than remain in it.
  6. In fact, it’s very hard to find anyone or anything at all that the public approves of right now. (Apart from the Queen and the Royal Family. The public love the Queen.)

But some things have changed a bit. Ed Miliband isn’t disliked as much as he was a year ago, while the gilt has continued to come off David Cameron’s gingerbread (though David Cameron and George Osborne retain a substantial lead on economic trust over the two Eds). Boris Johnson had a gala year, but has ended it with his star dimmed in the eyes of the headbangers because of his apostasy on matters connected to the EU.

Alex Salmond had a pretty mediocre year on the UK stage, saved only by the dismal quality of his Scottish opponents. The suspicion persists that he’s a flat track bully, too easily found out when he tries to take the step up against more serious opposition. And UKIP have definitely taken a step forward this year, consistently polling near or ahead of the Lib Dems in the polls, and having made some impact in by-elections.

Economically, Britain had a pretty dismal year. The best that can be said is that some other countries had grimmer years. But it was not a land of milk and honey. Employment is rising, unemployment is falling, but real incomes continue to decline. Growth remains fragile and the deficit remains stubbornly high.

On the plus side, the Eurozone did not collapse. That’s a much bigger achievement than seems to be acknowledged. It is leading to a financial union of the Eurozone, with Britain on the outside. The implications of this have not begun to be understood either in Britain or in the rest of the EU.

So, what’s next? Last year, I concluded that when no one commands public support, the public follow Newton’s First Law of Motion, proceeding in a straight line with no outside force operating on them. I stand by this judgement. If this is correct, then we should not expect events by themselves to make much difference until sections of the public are persuaded from their current default settings by the analysis of those events put forward by one or more public figures. Or, as happened this year, where one of the parties scores an own goal.

2013 has fewer set piece big events than 2012 that can already be foreseen, but three stand out as of particular importance:

1. The fiscal cliff

As I write, the news media are full of stories of the Republicans and Barack Obama’s failure so far to agree on how to avoid the fiscal cliff leading to a massive tightening of US policy. Whether or not agreement is reached by 1 January 2013 (I doubt it), some form of resolution will ultimately be reached, largely on Barack Obama’s terms – because he’s won the battle of public opinion in the USA and the Republicans will need to avoid lasting blame. This is likely to have a very substantial impact on the debate in the UK on the proper treatment of deficit reduction vs growth. This could be shaped by either George Osborne or Ed Balls in their favour if grasped quickly.

In practice, I expect neither to gain a competitive advantage by themselves, which means that the media will be decisive. I expect that on balance the press will regard this as giving more weight to Ed Balls’s “too far too fast” narrative, which may in turn mean that Labour gain some points in economic credibility.

2 The Royal baby

In the summer, assuming that the Royal pregnancy proceeds as we all hope, we shall succumb to Royal baby mania. Republicans may wish to check likely dates in order to book their holidays now.

While this story is not of direct political relevance, the papers are likely to spend some time considering the prospects for children born today. The coalition looks weak on family-friendliness. This may in turn give a nudge in Labour’s favour.

3. The German election

Germany will hold its federal elections in September or October. At present, Angela Merkel looks likely to win. But whoever wins, the new Government will be ready to take a more dynamic position regarding the Eurozone and its future. The end of the year is likely to be taken up (again) with interminable discussions about the future of the EU, and Britain’s place in it. I’m sure you can’t wait.

More generally, there is no obvious sign that Britain’s economy is going to start improving dramatically any time soon. There are a few recent signs that George Osborne is getting better at expectations management.

North of the border, the debate over Scottish independence will continue. To date, the NO side has been very effective with its message of fear, uncertainty and doubt, aided by some entirely avoidable blunders by the SNP.

Predictions

OK, time to bite the bullet. In a year where there are relatively few British political events scheduled, I suppose it should be harder to get too much wrong (famous last words).

Labour will keep and perhaps increase its lead in the polls

If the economy doesn’t improve, faith in the coalition’s policies will continue to wane. I have already noted two reasons why Labour may get additional support in the polls, and neither the Conservatives nor the Lib Dems are doing particularly well at media management, to say the least. Labour are not doing anything brilliant, and the public are not going to fall in love with them, but there aren’t too many options out there for the disaffected, and Labour remains the obvious one.

UKIP will rise further in the polls

The EU is going to be in the news a lot this year, from discussions about Romanian and Bulgarian migrants, Croatia’s accession on 1 July (another country to supply immigrants?), budgets, fiscal union and its consequences to Britain’s role in the new European order. Aided and abetted by the continuing hysteria of the Tory right acting as a fifth column, UKIP will pick up its share of the disaffected. Nothing David Cameron can say or do will ever satisfy the hardliners, of course.

But don’t expect major changes in the identity of Britain’s politicians

This will be another year where our top politicians stay put. Barring mortality, personal decision or unforeseen scandal, all three party leaders look safe enough for the coming year. David Cameron is likely to come under most pressure, but in the absence of a remotely credible rival, he should be safe enough (even in the Conservative party, which is addicted to plotting).

The Cabinet is unlikely to undergo a major reshuffle (it’s too complicated and anyway David Cameron doesn’t seem to believe in reshuffling endlessly). Will Andrew Mitchell or Chris Huhne return? Chris Huhne will have firmer party support if he rebuts the charges against him, but it would be easier to accommodate Andrew Mitchell (there are more Conservatives in Cabinet to eject). In practice, I expect both will find their political aspirations in 2013 progressing outside the Cabinet, unless others blot their copybook and create the necessary space.

The cause of Scottish independence will continue to languish

2012 showed that the SNP are nowhere near ready enough with their ideas as to what an independent Scotland would look like, or even what the route to independence would look like. Unless they can get a grip on this very quickly in 2013, the public will decide that it’s all just too big a gamble. Since there is no sign at present of them doing so, I expect the polls to look pretty dreary for the independence cause.

antifrank

This article first appeared on PB Channel 2

antifrank is a long standing contributor to PB, he would also like to stress, this piece was written mainly to help him form his own views as to what to expect, he doesn’t want anyone thinking he’s any kind of oracle.



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The Ipsos-Mori Almanac

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

Ipsos-Mori have published their almanac for 2012, and it makes for fascinating reading, analysing the movements of 2012, and putting them into context and the problems and opportunities facing all the parties and leaders.

You can view it for free, here.

They note

the trigger for the Tories’ loss of support seems to have been the budget delivered by George Osborne on 21 March, or perhaps the “omnishambles” of U-turns and clarifications that followed it……

Gideon Skinner of Ipsos-Mori concludes

2012 seems unlikely to go down in the history books as a great political turning point. But it may turn out to be the first crack in the dam or, alternatively, be seen as the point when the coalition might have imploded, yet didn’t. With the next election probably more than two years away, much can yet change, not least in the economic situation which is so important to the political outcome.

Update

The Opininium Poll for the Observer is out,

Conservatives 29% (no change)

Labour 39% (no change)

Lib Dems 8% (no change)

UKIP 15% (plus 1)

TSE



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What does the future hold for Boris

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

It certainly has been an extra-ordinary year for Boris, from winning re-election as Mayor of London, in what is supposedly a Labour city, whilst belonging to a party, that as a government had just delivered a double dip recession.

Winning allowed him to be Mayor during the Olympics, where he mocked Mitt Romney, to the adulation of many, and he was associated with the feel good factor that the Olympics brought, so much so, he upstaged The Prime Minister.

This led to, polling which showed Boris as Tory Leader would wipe away Labour’s lead, that he is Britain’s most respected politician, and being mobbed on his arrival in Birmingham for the Tory conference, where he gave a speech that went down well with the faithful.

However, as with a lot of Tory politicians, Europe caused him problems.

At the end of November, he committed heresy in the eyes of Eurosceptics when he rejected necessity for in/out referendum vote on EU, but a few weeks later, when he said  an EU referendum before 2015 would be ‘fantastic’, David Cameron should call a referendum on Britain’s EU membership before the next election and be prepared to walk away from Brussels.

2013, with a lack of a Mayoral election, and Olympics, would seem to restrict Boris’ visibility and opportunities to be popular on the national stage, he may have to do something spectacular to be noticed/maintain his popularity.

So what could he do in 2013, to maintain his popularity and visibility?

Perhaps he could be more voluble on the referendum (who knows, even pre-empt and outshine the Prime Minister’s upcoming speech on Europe) or re-enter Parliament, despite promising to serve a full second term.

Earlier on this year, there were stories, that Zac Goldsmith may trigger a by-election, to allow Boris to return to the Commons, and only this week there was speculation that several Conservative MPs in safe seats are prepared to resign and allow Boris Johnson to return to the Commons within weeks of the next general election.

Those of us who have read Andrew Gimson’s biography of Boris, know he is very ambitious, and has a history of breaking promises to meet his political ambitions.

Johnson’s idiosyncratic but lively journalism propelled him into the editor’s chair of The Spectator and he was brilliant.

Promising not to stand for Parliament, Boris went away and was elected for Henley.

Lord Black, his boss, described him as “ineffably duplicitous”

Ladbrokes have a market up on Boris’ future.

At the time of writing, the odds were

  • To serve full second term as Mayor 1/3
  • Not to serve full second term as Mayor 2/1
  • To become a Westminster MP before next general election 3/1
Whilst Coral’s have the following markets
  • To serve a full term as Mayor of London 2/7
  • To be elected Mayor of London again in 2016 2/1
  • Not to serve a full term as Mayor of London 5/2
  • To be Prime Minister within 10 years (end of 2022) 6/1
There are also other markets up on Boris being the next Tory Leader/Next PM with several bookmakers.

TSE



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Betting on what happens in 2013 with Ladbrokes

Friday, December 28th, 2012

 

Ladbrokes have some markets on some events that may occur in 2013.

I’m quite intrigued by the YouGov one, in 2012, they produced nearly 250 VI polls, I’d expect a similar number in 2013, we could always have a rogue poll, the last Tory lead with YouGov was the 2nd of March 2012.

The Boris Johnson one also looks interesting, as he as a history of such situations, as does the reality tv one, but the wording of it seems a bit ambiguous at best.

The full betting opportunities.

  • Conservatives to be ahead in any YouGov Westminster voting intention poll in 2013 2/1
  • Any Tory MP to defect to UKIP 3/1
  • Any MP arrested 1/2
  • Gay marriage legalised evens
  • UK Euro referendum held 10/1
  • UK to leave EU 33/1
  • Any MP to abscond from duty to do reality tv 20/1
  • An extra bank holiday to be granted in the UK 10/1
  • Any MP to have a top 10 single 20/1
  • Boris Johnson to get trapped anywhere/caught in anything on camera 3/1

 

TSE