What about a market that the Tories could win?

What about a market that the Tories could win?

    Would handicap betting make the General Election more interesting?

A common practice whenever an event seems a foregone conclusion is to introduce a “handicap” element to make the betting on the second or third favourite an attractive proposition.

With most of the polls showing Labour 4-5% ahead it’s very hard to see what Michael Howard will be able to take out of the General Election for the Tories. Even allowing for the pollsters’ proven tendency to always over-state the Labour margin, 6.6% in 2001, there needs to be clear blue water between the Tories and Labour for Howard to be even scenting victory.

    But how about a betting market that the Tories could conceivably win? One possibly would be on what happens in the 529 English seats.

At the 2001 election these split LAB 323: CON 165: LD 40 IND 1 from vote shares of LAB 41.4%: CON 35.2 LD 19.4.

  • The current swing in the polls should allow the Tories to over-haul Labour’s 2001 lead of 6% in the popular vote in England.
  • To win on seats in England the Tories would need to get at least 244 if the Lib Dems’ English total remains as it is.
  • Most of the “tactical unwind” potential Tory gains – of which there has been much discussion on the site – are in England and would add to the total even if the vote share remains static.
  • Playing the English card – raising issues like the higher than average per capitia public spending in Scotland and why MPs from Scotland are allowed to vote on England-only matters but not the other way round might resonate well. The single Tory seat in Scotland is due to go in the boundary changes.
  • So it is just feasible that Michael Howard could end up as top dog south of the border. A betting market on this could be very attactive – certainly when compared with the best price of 1/6 that’s currently available on Labour in the main Commons seat market.

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