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Guest Slot: Five reasons to bet on Labour winning the Euros this Thursday

May 20th, 2014

Predicting an election when the three top parties could well end up within three or four points of one and other and in any order of gold, silver and bronze is likely a fool’s errand. But finding value in the betting market before Thursday isn’t.

There’s big reasons for Labour to rightfully worry about UKIP this Thursday (the continued erosion of its blue collar base, UKIP in-roads on Labour-identifying non-voters etc, the immigration issue etc). But there’s also small things that disadvantage UKIP come Thursday and may well make Labour the value bet.

Here’s five of them:

1) ‘The Literal Democrat’ effect: UKIP will lose an unknown number of votes to the decoy not-UKIP party “An Independence from Europe” – a breakaway offshoot of UKIP that will top the ballot paper in all English regions. Combined with the similar styling that will visually indicate ‘UKIP’ to some voters, the advantage of coming first in the alphabetical order of ballots might cost le vrai UKIP as much as a point or two.

2) The Tory revival and Osborne’s budget: the Conservative’s small uptick in the polls and the recapturing of the Tory grey vote from UKIP thanks to Osborne’s pensions reforms may well erode UKIP’s Thursday showing too.

3) Differential turnout: as Mike Smithson has noted, 58% of voters don’t just have Euro elections but locals too. These areas tend to be more urban and Labour than rural and UKIP. What’s more, in London and Manchester and other big cities where Labour councillors actually did well in the 2010 council elections, you have incumbent Labour councillors, well dug-in with strong local machines driving up the Labour vote. Which leads me to…

4) Labour has ground game, UKIP doesn’t: last Saturday alone the Labour Party spoke with 157,000 voters face to face. I’d be surprised if UKIP managed to deliver that many leaflets in a week. In a tight election GOTV makes all the difference.

5) UKIP’s momentum may have broken just in time: whatever the reason (from Romanian remarks or Newark nastiness) the polls have by and large shown a UKIP dip just in time for polling day. For a party that lacks organisation to win, momentum is key. And UKIP’s momentum may have run out just in time for Labour to pip it at the post.

Inevitable caveat time: yes, I know: UKIP were leading in the polls when postal votes were sent out, Labour’s Euros free post went out after UKIP’s, the polls are too close/weird to make too much sense of etc. So of course if UKIP triumph despite these structural disadvantages that will make their success all the richer – and worrying for Labour. But in the meantime, if you want to find value in your last minute betting, here’s where I think it lies.

At the time of writing, the best odds on Labour winning the Euros is 5/2

Marcus Roberts

Marcus Roberts is Deputy General Secretary of the Fabian Society and is the author of ‘Labour’s Next Majority: the 40% strategy


UPDATE – Some more Euro polls out