Could there be a shock west of Offa’s Dyke as well?
While all the focus for the May 3rd elections has been on the possibility of an SNP win in Scotland is there a possibility that Labour’s position might not be as secure in Wales as the betting and the limited number of polls have suggested?
Certainly, unlike Scotland, the battle for the Welsh Assembly has failed to attract the interest of punters, as the above Betfair prices show, with barely Â£2,000 having been traded since the betting exchange opened its market three months ago.
The real problem is that there has been very little polling data about and what there is has showed Labour to be holding up remarkably well. A new survey is expected in the next couple of days which might give us a clearer idea.
Betting interest has probably been dampened by the one major voting intention poll that showed that Labour was only down 2% in the top-up list section on what it achieved in the totally different political environment of 2003 when the party was enjoying a 42% share in the national opinion polls.
Polling in Wales has a history of inaccuracy and I simply do not believe that the Labour vote in the Principality is immune from the massive decline that has taken place nationally.
The issue, of course, is that PC is nothing like as strong as the SNP and any major move away from Labour is likely to split three ways benefiting the Tories, the Lib Dems and PC. The result, given the electoral system under which this election is taking place, is that a diminished Labour will still probably end up with most seats – which is what the betting market is about.
I never let a UK election go by without putting some money on and I have risked a tenner betting against Labour. This seemed a much more interesting bet than putting the same sum on the party to win a maximum of 50 pence.