Following the election on the betting screen

Following the election on the betting screen

    Which prices will look like this tomorrow night?

The above was a live chart from Betfair from the night of November 2/3 2004 and shows the dramatic change in the fortunes of John Kerry as news came through first of good exit polls and then the reality of what had actually happened.

For there’s is probably no better way of looking at this election than following the betting and our suggestion would be the Betfair Labour seats market. For unlike a normal bookmaker which fixes the prices and has to continue changing them in response to market movements the roll of Betfair is simply to provide a facility where punters can trade bets with each other.

    As firmer news of the postal votes seeps out today and then we go into May 5th itself there will be a huge amount of activity in this market as those wanting to back – place a bet in ther normal way – and those wanting to “lay” – be like a bookmaker by accepting a bet – keep on changing their positions.

Often punters will be seeking to take profits on bets they have already made by laying in the same market at a better price. Other punters with “long” positions on an outcome might try to get out of their bets by trying to find backers.

There’s going to be so much news and information floating about in the next 48 hours that this will be dynamic. For Betfair alongside the spread-betting firms will stay open right through until a result is finally known. Factors that will affect prices will be

  • The final polls from the pollsters
  • More information about the postal vote counts – particularly on turnout.
  • Information from the party machines during the day on how they are doing will begin to seep out. By about 6pm it should be coming clear.
  • The exit poll to be announced at 2201 tomorrow on BBC and ITV.
  • The Sunderland South result at about 2245
  • Information from the counts even before declarations are made
  • BUT BEWARE OF THE RAMPERS. With money at stake people might seek to influence prices by spreading false information here.

    Mike Smithson

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