Meanwhile, back with Labour & the Tories…

Meanwhile, back with Labour & the Tories…


    …the General Election gap is closing

While all the focus has been on the Lib Dem leadership the question of which party will win most seats at the General Election, as reflected by the best betting exchange prices, continues to see the Tories narrowing the gap with Labour.

The current implied probability, based on best prices, has Labour on 53.7% and the Tories at 46.7%. Note that the betting is on which party wins most seats and not on whether they will have an overall majority.

On the Cantor Spreadfair Commons seat market these are the latest spreads: CON 270-273: LAB 288-296: LD 54-56. A week ago today the mid-point indicated a Labour lead of 36. Today that is down to 20.5 seats.

The big driver behind the betting is, of course, the opinion polls and we have not had any surveys since the ICM one for the Guardian in the week before Christmas. This coming week we should see the January Populus poll in the Times. A month ago this had Labour 3 points ahead while all the other pollsters have now been showing Tory leads.

    A key indicator that might be included in the poll is the response to how Labour would be doing if Gordon Brown was leader. In December Populus had the Tories doing 8% better than on the standard voting intention. Will this gap still be there?

Quite what the effect of the Liberal Democrat leadership issue will have on the numbers is hard to tell. Populus carries out its surveys over the weekend and in the last few days the media has been swamped with the Kennedy issue.

If the polls continue to move in the Tory direction then we might see a point where Cameron’s party becomes the betting favourite. We are a little way to go yet.

Mike Smithson

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