Will Martin’s new calculator change the way we look at the election?
The former Cambridge and now city mathematician, Martin Baxter, has produced a new version of his famous Commons seat calculator to build in an element of tactical vote unwind. This is the effect that a number of experts think might happen as a result of Lib Dem supporters returning to their normal allegiance after switching to Labour in 1997 and 2001 to get the Tories out.
If this happens in any serious way then the number of seats that each party gets could be different from the projections on the standard Martin Baxter model that apply current or user-defined vote shares to what happened at the last election.
He emailed me this afternoon to say that he had just put it up on his site and he is interested to see the views of Politicalbetting users.
Martin’s assessment is that it could have an effect but that it will be limited to a maximum of a 2% switch from Labour back to the Lib Dems resulting 10 extra Labour seats changing hands on current poll levels.
But if the Labour lead gets smaller than the current 5% average in the polls then the tactical vote effect is magnified to the extent that if Labour and the Tories are level-pegging then 24 extra Labour seats go to the Tories.
Because of Martin’s reputation this will almost certainly filter through to the spread betting markets and might give the Tories a small lift.
The latest General Election seat spreads from Spreadfair – the spreadbetting exchange are LAB 351.5-353: CON 195-197: LIBD 71 -71.5: SNP 5-6: PC 4-5: UKIP 0.5-1.1.