How the punters beat the pollsters

How the punters beat the pollsters

    Are betting markets a good guide to changing opinion?

A remarkable aspect of today’s YouGov move to the Tories was that the change was forecast more than forty-hours beforehand on the betting markets even while the survey for the Daily Telegraph was still taking place.

On Tuesday Michael Howard’s party was at it’s lowest point for years on the spread-betting markets with the range being predicted by those ready to back up their opinions with cash at 183-190 seats. The following day we reported that the price had gone up two and suggested that the Tories might have bottomed and then, perhaps, was the time to buy.

Since then the YouGov poll has come out and the Tories are showing a six seat gain in four days. The latest IG Index spreads are Lab 355 – 362: Con 189 – 196: Lib 70 – 74

    It is important to note that what prompted the move mid-week was not a new poll or a comment on Politicalbetting – but punters taking stock of the situation and putting money on.

It will be interesting to see if today’s poll trend is picked up by the Communcate Research survey due to the published in the Independent on Sunday and the February Populus survey which will probably be in the Times a week on Tuesday.

    For our General Election Coverage we are hoping to feature a live feed of betting prices so that users will be able to get the latest information on how things are moving.

As we get closer to the day the amount of money being bet will increase dramatically and prices could be changing many times a day. The live information could become a vital information source and it will be interesting to see if the gamblers beat the pollsters and the pundits.

Mike Smithson

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