Dare you bet against the polls and the uniform swing

Dare you bet against the polls and the uniform swing

    Will the vote-seats distribution work like 2001?

The big two questions for gamblers this General Election morning are whether the polls are right and whether the number of Commons seats will actually work out according to the seat calculators which operate by taking the party vote shares and applying a uniform national swing in every seat.

Last time, as has been said repeatedly, the average of the final polls overstated Labour’s eventual vote margin by 6.6%. What is less widely known is that last time, as well, Labour did much better than the national swing in its marginals which meant that it got many more MPs than the final vote figures would suggest.

    A simple way of expressing this is that last time Labour managed to get ELEVEN votes in its marginals for every TEN votes it got elsewhere on the national performance. Can it do this today? For if it can’t then it stands to loose many of the fruits of its supercharged performance in these seats last time.

Ironically the bar has been set so high that unless the 11 for ten proportion can be repeated then the performance in the marginals will be worse than the seats where it does not matter.

A more likely outcome is that Labour will hang on to a part of its extra success of 2001. This could actually mean that compared with 2001 the party might perform worse in the seats it is defending against the Conservatives, Lib Dems and nationalist parties. So if it retains, say half, of the extra support in the seats Labour could see TWENTY votes there as opposed to TWENTY-ONE in the heart-lands.

Certainly the gambling markets have taken some of this into account. Martin Baxter’s final prediction based on his polling average show a Labour majority of 132 seats. Our BALANCE OF MONEY prediction based on what gamblers have been doing puts this at 94 seats.

Labour spreads: IG Index 368-374: Sporting Index 366-370: Spreadfair 367.5-368.2

Tory spreads: IG Index 184-188: Sporting Index 182-186: Spreadfair 186-187.8

Lib Dem spreads: IG Index 64-67: Sporting Index 65-67: Spreadfair 65.8-66

SNP spreads: IG Index 5.1-5.4 Sporting Index 5.1-5.4 Spreadfair 5 – 5.5

Plaid Cymru spreads: IG Index 4.5 -4.8 Sporting Index 4.4 – 4.7 Spreadfair 4.3 -4.7

Check here for the Betfair Labour seats market and other prices from the betting exchange.

Mike Smithson

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