Will it be a day of despair for Labour?
The Lib Dems go into polling day at the Birmingham Hodge Hill and Leicester South by-election as firm odds-on favourites. At time of posting it was 30/100 in Leicester and 4/5 in Birmingham – the latter price holding in spite of continued tricky coverage for the party over their candidate’s day job in the mobile phone masts industry.
At noon the Lib Dem prices in both seats had eased a little – in Leicester it was 2/5 and in Birmingham 9/10.
On the betting exchanges where you can lay (acting as a bookie yourself by accepting a bet) there have been very few punters ready to take even that risk on the Lib Dems which shows a marked lack of confidence in Labour in both places. We think that the Tories will get at least one second place.
It is our understanding that the Betfair betting exchange markets on the Birmingham Hodge Hill and Leicester South by-elections will continue throughout the day until the offical results are actually announced – possibly in the early hours of the morning.
This opens up interesting opportunities for betting for those with good links into the party HQs or those with nerves of steel.
BETTING EXCHANGE POINTS: All unmatched bets were cleared when the polls opened at 7am which is why the prices might look different. When checking a price look at what the “last trade” was rather than what’s being offered.
Unless you are a party official working at one of the election HQs the best place to find out what’s going on is to look at the betting. As the day wears on the officials will start to get an idea of, first, what the turn-out is likely to be and then whether they are getting their votes out compared with the other parties. This information will spill out and punters will bet on it and prices will move. If there is real solid information then the market will jump with a certainty that is easy to spot.
From 7am. Polls open and as electors go through each station their numbers are taken by tellers and these are biked or phoned back to the HQs where they are keyed into a computer.
From 9am. The “knock-up” begins. Lists for the hundreds of party activists start to be generated so they knock on doors to get the non-voters to the polling stations.
By 6pm. From this information the party workers will start to form pretty clear ideas about how its going. At the central HQs the computers will be producing regular reports and by early evening experienced campaign managers will have a good idea of how they are standing. It might be that workers need to be switched to weaker areas.
10 pm Polls Close. The ballot boxes are taken under police escort to the count. Betting should continue. Party workers do a rough check as they observe the ballot boxes being opened and the counting clerks unfold the papers and put them into batches. All this information will be fed back back and will start to affect the betting exchange markets.
By Midnight. Those in the halls will have a firm idea of the result simply by counting the bundles of votes for each party. This will feed out.