Will the Tories be toasting England this St George’s Day?

Will the Tories be toasting England this St George’s Day?

St George’s day is as good a time as any to look again at one hurdle that Michael Howard should be able to surmount on May 5 – the Conservatives could win most votes in England.

    Four years ago they were just six points adrift south of the border and if voting goes according to our BALANCE OF MONEY predictions then Michael Howard’s party will win the popular vote in this part of the UK.

With 529 seats of the 646 seats at stake England is so much the dominant part of the Kingdom and last time the Conservatives won all but one of their MPs here. There are signs that the Tory-free status of Wales could be ended on May 5th and that the party might end up with some gains in Scotland. Skybet have a market on Welsh Tory seats.

But being top dog in terms of seats in England looks out of reach if current poll findings are accurate and seats are distributed in accordance with the national swing. They are going to need in the region of 230-240 English MPs depending on how successful Labour is defending itself against George Galloway and the Lib Dems. The Betfair betting exchange price on them doing it is currently 6/1.

    An aspect of the English result that could have longer term implications is that even though the Conservatives should win more votes then Labour are likely to have at least 100 more seats.

On the overall who win most seat market the Betfair betting exchange has now seen well in excess of £2m worth of bets matched. Based on the betting pattern of the US presidential election, when £17m was matched on the betting exchange, then it’s possible that at least £10m more could be wagered on this market alone in the next ten days.

Other big markets at Betfair include the winning majority and the number of Labour seats and in most cases their prices are ahead of the conventional bookies.

PREDICTION COMPETITION Over the Christmas holiday we ran a prediction competition and the entries can be found in the comments section of this post. We are now planning another one and I am hoping that we might be able to secure some sponsorship from one of the bookmakers so that we have a reasonable prize for the winner. There will be more this weekend.

  • Hill & Knowlton, meanwhile have produced a 2005 version of their seat calculator and we have updated our link. They have also retained their 2001 calculator for those who believe that swings from 1997 General Election will be a more accurate pointer to what is likely to happen a week on Thursday than the 2001 result.
  • Mike Smithson

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