Let’s do some number-crunching
The veteran political commentator, Alan Watkins, returns to the theme of a possible hung Parliament in his column in the Indpendent on Sunday this morning.
He notes that he is just one of three pundits who have been prepared to contemplate such an outcome – the others being the former Times editor, William Rees-Mogg and the Strathclyde Professor of Politics, John Curtice.
Given current polling numbers how far-fetched is Watkins being? The answer’s not very.
If you apply an element for tactical vote unwind – that’s allowing for the return to normal allegiance of just 2% of Lib Dems who supported Labour last time to stop the Tories winning in marginal seats – then Labour are still top party by a long way but are 26 seats short of an overall majority.
Although these are not predictions but just playing with figures they do show how things can change dramatically with both main parties having percentage poll shares in the 30s.
All we have done is to extrapolate what would happen if the current most accurate pollster is as accurate as it was the last time it was tested.
As for the betting – the 7/4 that Skybet have on Labour getting less than 340 seats looks good value. You would win if Labour got an overall majority of 32 or less.
Copyright 2005 Mike Smithson