What are the implications for punters?
A big investigation in the Times this morning shows a huge increase in postal voting applications from marginal seats and raises concerns about the role the party machines – and not just Labour – have played in the process.
From the pure betting perspective this must make the current turnout markets even more attractive. The IG Index spread is just 60.75-61.75% while Spreadfair, have 60.4-61.3%. The best conventional bookie price of 6/5 for 63% or more looks like great value for money.
As to the impact on specific marginals it is hard to know which party has been doing best. A number of Conservative contributors to this site have suggested that they are a bigger beneficiary than Labour or the Lib Dems. On May 6th we will know.
The high level of postal voting could lead to legal challenges after May 5 resulting, maybe, in the payout on election bets being delayed. This was one of the consequences of the Florida votinig debacle in Novemnbr 2000 when tens of thousands of punters had to wait for six weeks to get their cash.
Politically all the parties are using the postal votings rules as they are to seek to maximise their votes – particularly in the marginals. But following the Birmingham case the party most vulnerable to a political fall-out is clearly Labour because it was the Government that pushed the new lax procedures that have come under so much criticism.
One of the consequences of the Pope’s death two weeks ago was that the General Election announcement had to be delayed for 24 hours. If it had gone to plan then the news of the Birmingham fraud case would have been buried.
A full round-up of all General Election Betting is available here.
POLLING UPDATE Channel Four news had an ICM poll which it reported last night.
Lab/Con marginals: CON 37: LAB 40: LD 17
LD-Con marginals: CON 40 LAB 20: LD 35