The Leadership battle – the first six months

The Leadership battle – the first six months

    Will the Sundays kill off the Cameron challenge?

As our chart shows the first six months of the battle to replace Michael Howard as Tory leader has seen huge swings between the front-runners. What the graph illustrates is the implied probability of success based on the best betting prices available. Even though this is the final weekend of the first phase this contest is still very difficult to call and much could depend on what is in tomorrow’s papers.

  • Will a new YouGov poll of Tory members show David Cameron sustaining his remarkable performance?
  • Will Cameron’s refusal to talk in detail about what he did or did not do when a student be backed by the polls or has his approach been a misjudgement?
  • Will the Mail on Sunday and others cast any further light on what happened or did not happen in Oxford all those years ago?
  • Will David Davis’s comments in a TV interview tonight backfire? He’s said to contrast his own denial of any contact with drugs to his main rival’s reticence – making a mockery – as the Telegraph notes today – of his boast about never speaking ill of fellow Conservatives.
  • What a test for the media skills of all of the contenders tomorrow will be. So far as the punters who are risking hard cash on the outcome are concerned the drugs affair does not seem to have hurt Cameron. He remains a heavy odds-on favourite.

    I’m not totally convinced by the markets and have been cutting back my exposure on Cameron ahead of tomorrow. I’ve also put a little bit on Fox at 9/1 and 10/1 because his price will surely tighten if after Tuesday’s vote he is still in the race.

    Leadership Betting
    Best betting exchange prices; Cameron 0.78/1: Davis 2.34/1: Clarke 20/1: Fox 9/1
    Best bookmaker prices; Cameron 4/6: Davis 9/4: Clarke 9/1: Fox 8/1

    Mike Smithson

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