As predicted by Politicalbetting on October 20th 2004 Michael Howard is going into the final phase of the campaign urging electors to “send a message” to Tony Blair.
In interviews and public comments over the past couple of days the Tory leader is making the “send a message” theme the hallmark of his final phase rhetoric. Although he is not actually conceding defeat the aim seems to be to get over without saying as much that Tony Blair will win in order to ease the fears of those who don’t like Blair very much but do not want a Tory government returned.
The target would seem to be wavering Labour supporters who might vote Lib Dem or Green or who might just stay at home.
In many ways Michael Howard is being helped by the opinion polls because nobody is suggesting that there can be any other outcome than a Labour victory.
Will it work? It will be interesting to watch and certainly this was the approach used by Tory Campaign chief, Lynton Crosby, during the 1996 Australian election campaign.
Monday’s ICM Mirror poll had LAB 39: CON 33: LD 20. But from the detailed data the Tories are just ahead amongst those certain to vote. So anything that persuades less than certain Labour supporters that it is safe to stay at home could produce big benefits.
All this reinforces our favourite bet at the moment – the IG Index “how many seats will change hands market”. The spread is now 43-48 seats and offers very big upside possibilties for a relatively modest downside risk. I’ve now taken my profits on the turnout and Lib Dem vote share spreads in order to bet more in this market.
A full round-up of all General Election Betting is available here