But the punters are sticking with the Lib Dems
Based on recent media coverage you would be forgiven for thinking that Britiain had returned to two-party politics. For with political noise levels rising to almost deafening proportions the Lib Dems are finding it hard getting themselves noticed as Labour and the Tories slog it out in an increasingly bitter fight.
With their opinion roll ratings down sharply and their leader being criticised for missing a key vote on the anti-terror bill the party has gathered for its conference feeling a little less elated than when it last met in September.
That month their average poll rating was 25% which gave real credence to their campaign objective to seek to replace the Tories as the main opposition. Now Martin Baxter’s “poll of polls” has them at 18.96% with the Tories are making some progress and Labour touching 40%. But it’s not all gloomy for the Lib Dems.
More TV coverage will come when the election is declared formally and the “balanced coverage” rules click in.
Poll ratings, if previous campaigns are anything to go by, should rise sharply as polling day approaches.
Special targetting, of which the party is a past master, should produce many more seats than calculations based on a uniform national swing would suggest.
The main Liberal Democrat seat markets have been complicated by the entry of Betfair which instead of offering three or four seat ranges has come up with six. The betting exchange’s approach is dumb and is proving a real turn-off with punters. As of the time of this post the market has attracted just Â£120 of matched bets.
If you think that Charles Kennedy’s party will get 71 or more seats then the 6/4 that Skybet is offering looks the best option. If you are more sanguine about their chances then Sporting Odds have 11/8 against 64 Lib Dem seats or less.
Â© Mike Smithson 2005