Is the best bet not to bet?
With the UK General Election perhaps only seven months away it’s becoming harder and harder to find any good value bets.
On the main Who’ll get most seats? the best that can be had on Labour is 1/5. It’s hard to call for any other party but if the pollsters are exaggerating Labour by as much as they were in 2001 then it is just possible that the bet might be a loser. The risk is too high to wager £100 to win £20 – DON’T BET.
When it comes to Commons seats there has, as we predicted two weeks ago, been a slight movement back to the Tories. The latest prices are:
SportingIndex LAB 338-346: CON 208-216: LIBD 72-77
IG Index: LAB 338-346: CON 202-210: LIBD 70-75
With a Labour margin of only 2.2% on Martin Baxter’s rolling “poll of polls” things are very tight. The vote shares are: – LAB 34.2: CON 32: LIBD 23.7 . You’ve then got to work out how the votes will convert to seats and there are two very different views of the world.
Baxter Uniform National Swing. LAB 366: CON 190: LIBD 60
Cooke Tactical Vote Unwind: LAB 322: CON 248: LIBD 47
So the big deicsion for punters is whether they back the uniform national swing view of the election or tactical unwind. Amazingly there is no consistent market view from the spread prices on which of these calculations is best rated by the punters.
Several bookies are now in the When will the election be? markets but it’s hard to call anything other than May 2005 and the prices are not worth the risk.
The only good bet about is backing Blair to go by the end of 2005 which is still at 3/1.
On the party leaders markets we are getting too close for any move to change now and barring an accident Kennedy, Blair and Howard look like the three contenders.
Once the effect of Hartlepool and the party conferences are out of the way the end- October polls should give a firmer steer about what might happen. Until then keep you wallet in your pocket.