Is there any value on the general election markets?

Is there any value on the general election markets?

chart GE aug 20 2007.JPG

    Does the chart say it all?

It is some time since this chart, showing how punters are assessing Labour and Tory chances of winning most seats has been featured here. It illustrates the changing views of the main parties chances based on the price available on Betfair converted into an implied probability.

The steep Brown bounce is there for all to see and the issue is whether the Labour price will harden even more as the party consolidates its poll leads or whether there is any prospect of a Tory recovery?

    For gamblers like me who like to bet short-term in long term markets the big question is what happens if polls start showing a lessening of Labour’s lead. Is that likely to happen and if so when?

I am not aware of any new surveys coming out this weekend but if they are following their normal schedules fieldwork for ICM’s monthly Guardian poll and the Independent’s Communicate Research survey should be being carried out this weekend. Given that there’s been slightly less about Labour in the media and a bit more about the Tories then there could be slight changes.

My general election betting is confined to the Labour price on the Spreadfair commons seat market. I had a buy position at 311.75 seats which I’ve now closed at 314-315 seats just in case there is a reduction in Labour’s poll lead. I’ve not bet the other way – this move is just precautionary and I’ve pocketed a small profit.

Punters seem to react more strongly to good Tory news than in the other direction. Last weekend I thought that the YouGov 10% Labour lead would have pushed the spread on commons seats much higher than it did.

Mike Smithson

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